Saturday, 21 February 2009

Serious hacking

Guys (and the few gals that might have popped in here), there is no doubt that having a hardtail is cool. It might not be the best ride comfort, but when it comes to coolness, nothing beats it.
So how do you get the bike lined up, all angles right and the looks as well?
Follow this link and you will end up at Back Street Choppers. They have some good pics and tricks on how you go about it. Also while doing it you must extend the swing arm to get the proportions right. Here you do need to remember my devise: Measure twice - cut once.
Just remember that some bikes looks like shit if you get the proportions wrong.

This bike is about 10cm (4") to short, also it uses the swing arm as a rigid and that stresses the bearings to much.
Could work for Asian midgets (sorry, little people), but it looks just plain wrong on normal seized Westerners. It´s a Suzuki GS450. I´m sure it´s a fun bike and that it has a proud owner.

This bike has the proportions right. It´s an Yamaha XS650. My guess stretched about 15cm from original. I´m talking moderate stretch here, not OCC stretch.
If you don´t want to go rigid, save your back/ass, an still have a stretched bike, extending or swapping your swing arm is the route.

Look at Matsumaru Store, they have done just that, really beautiful bikes.
This bike is lowered 10cm in front and swing arm extended 5cm.

10cm lowered in front, rear 5cm longer as the one above.

This bike is 9,5 cm lowered in front, swing arm 3 cm longer.

For the back yard mechanic, more hands-on tricks. Rust is the enemy on old bikes. Have you tried electrolysis? Ken has some practical ideas if you have a rusty tank.
Some people swear by citric acid, but I have not tried any of these tricks as the only rust on my bike was easy to remove, or in the case of engine bolts, they were exchanged for A4 stainless steel Allen bolts. That improves the look a lot and is practical too.

Keep chopping (or Bobbing rather).


  1. nice post. if i send my pic, could you see it just to make sure my bike has the right proportion. ahnks

  2. Proportions are subjective. My eyes are as good as yours. My if my 2c is worth anything, fire away. I´ll be glad to reply to you.

  3. Stainless bolts are cool and easy to maintain, but I'll get them out asap.

    Inox and Aluminum are not the best friends, knowing that 99% of motorcycle engines are made from aluminum your gonna be sorry if you don't get those bolts out.

    The stainless bolts will eat away the aluminum making your threads go away real fast. They will melt together thru chemical oxidation and will be impossible to get out.