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DR350 cafe racer build. (pic heavy)

elless1

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I've started another project this time it has two wheels. Bought a dr350
road trail and i'm converting it into a vintage looking cafe racer/street bike.

I looked for bike forums but couldnt settle on a descent one so i thought
i'd put the build up here on JC.

Bike is stock,with low km's, shocks rebuilt and rebuilt rims. Plans are to
change the tank to a big old steel one, change the seat to a flat vintage style,put
18" rims front and back (back is already 18" i believe) And vintage tires.
Different mirrors,lights,indicators,exhaust,different rear swing arm,dual rear
springs in the back (hence the swingarm), lower front shock accordingly.

I know nothing about bikes and dont have a license for one but i thought that
i want to ride while i still can, with my back in the condition it's in. Hopefully
i dont come off. haha. Its been a long time coming and now it's time to pull
my finger out and do it.

I'm doing lessons and have a test at the end of the month. Hoping the bike is
done by then or close to it. That;s the aim anyway.

I wanted a Triumph Bonneville or Thruxton but the price range and engine
capacity are a bit out of my budget and license restrictions.should be a fun bike
and a good learning experience anyway.

Heres some pics of what ive been doing-

Here's the bike as i got it. It's a 99 model,last of the air cooled engines.


I managed to get a tank from an old yamaha xs650 from the wrecker for cheap
so i pulled the plastics and seat from the bike and started playing. I thought the tank looked
best pushed right up to the front but the handlebars would smash the tank. So i marked
the handlebars with paint so i could see where they touched the tank on lock, and went
about massaging the tank into shape to accommodate the bars.

The third pic below shows some of the bog i found. Ended up stripping the tank back with a flap disk.






And a shot of it on the bike. Looks pretty stupid on there at the moment.haha.



Managed to get a new oldschool aftermarket headlight,and after a bit of stuffing around
moving the speedo back and modding the light so i could fit the wiring loom in it, i got it on.
Looks pretty silly on there at the moment but it's staying on till the bikes done. Pulled the gators
off the front shocks and decided to crank the bike down with the ratchet straps to get
an idea of stance. The bike will be way lower anyway but just wanted to have a look.






Then i set about doing some metal work on the bare tank to try and straighten it out a bit.
Ended up welding nails to the tank and making a dent puller/slide hammer out of a set of vice grips to
pull some of the dents out.Then the areas got ground back,rewelded if need be,tinned
with solder and lead wiped. Then it got sanded down again and the remaining low spots
filled with a skim coat of filler.








Kept getting that feeling like someone was watching me.


The tank got a coat of primer then sanded,still needs a bit of work.The tank came with dual
taps on the bottom and after seeing the taps on ebay for a lot of money i decided to solder
in some brass tubing and go with an inline tap. The tubing looks way better and fits the vintage
theme. Mad a bracket out of some sheet and an old bolt to hold the tank on too.









Got loads of parts coming over the next few weeks.
Thanks for looking.
 

elless1

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Wasnt happy with the muffler on the bike at the moment, sounded "tinny" so i made another
one out of crap i had lying around. the muffler isnt really part of the cafe racer conversion but
i thought id throw up a few pics anyway.








For anyone that doesnt know what a cafe racer looks like heres a pic of a bike in a very similar style to what ill be aiming for.
So far no-one has done one out of a dirtbike that i can find,probably for good reason. Should be fun.



The front forks got a tidy up today as well, i'll post more pics tomorrow.

Cheers.
 

Sandman

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You certainly don't muck around do you mate. Great so see some different projects on here.
Here's some inspiration for you, these are a couple of bikes a mate's built. I also know nothing about bikes, I just take the photos haha.

 

Corza19

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Looks good mate :)
elless1 said:
So far no-one has done one out of a dirtbike that i can find
Nigel Petrie from Geelong (Engineered to Slide) made one a while back. It was/is a KTM 250. Here's the link to his blog posts about it. Cafe racer – Engineered to Slide :)

 

sleepa

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Nice work so far.
I got most of the way through building a "rat fighter" a few years back out of a late 80s Honda CBR1000F, just couldn't get the seat right.

Have fun building it, it's nearly more fun then riding them. lol.
 

elless1

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They are some nice bikes. Well beyond my money and ability.Haha

Very nice indeed.

Ive seen that ktm and a few other cafe's made from dirtbikes but all of them (although sweet)
have a square swing arm and or frame. Since i got it in my head that i didnt like it,it's all i
look for and first thing i look at.



This is the swing arm i bought. Round tube to match the frame. It's from a gs250 so i'll have
to play arouind with it to get it to fit. All being well it will all look very old
school but with the advantage of a modern reliable drivetrain and engine combo thats easy/cheap
to service,repair and get parts for. The suzuki has a bit of grunt and 6 gears so i'm going
to go up a tooth or two for a bit more top end as well.

Also bought a pipe bender and some 19mm tube,mainly for making the hoop that goes behind the seat
or parts for the frame if i start chopping the back off and redoing the back of the bike completely.

Here's the tube bender,you can see where i got the steel mesh for the muffler. Have to
make sure i dont put my hands near the compressor when it''s running. lol




Heres a pic of front shocks a cleanup



Took the bike for a little spin,the muffler sounds a lot deeper,still bloody loud,
but sounds good.

Looks like the riding test might be this week, after only two lessons i'm a bit weary
but i'll give it a crack. Worst case scenario i have to wait a week and do it again.

Cheers.
 

elless1

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The seat arrived today,being impatient and a bit stupid i started hacking away at the frame.
Pulled the rear mudguard off and pretty much everything around it. Chopped a bit of the frame rails at the back.
Haven't got the seat mounted yet as i ran out of gas for the welder but i'm just dummy fitting and
seeing what looks right.

Tack welded one of my hoops on the back to see how it's going to sit,need to get some gas
tomorrow and start atcually making mounts for the seat. Not the smartest thing ive done
considering the bike cant be ridden now till i sort it out but couldnt help myself. Hopefully
i'll have it tied up over the next couple of days and rideable again.

Here's some pics.







Thanks for looking.
 

elless1

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Ok, so, got my license yesterday. Still very excited about it and surprised i passed.
Not bad considering ive only had two lessons and was pretty decently shitting myself
before the test.

Ive been riding the bike around the last two days with just a temporary rear fender,
and a sink plug as the fuel cap. No wonder people think i'm mad. It actually fits
beaut,and is brass, and actually looks like it should be on there.haha. I threw
some polish on it for a laugh and drilled a little hole for gas to escape. If i hadnt of
ordered a new lockable one i'd leave it on there forever.I'll get some
better pics of it later.

Anyway,

The hoop got welded on where i was happy with it and i spent a day making a mount
for the front of the seat that clips in and having it bolt down at the rear. Messed around
and hacked up the old plastic rear fender just so i can ride it. Also had some
nice smaller indicators come today so i fitted them. Bike overall still needs
a big tidy up and a proper fender.

Here's some pics of how it sits at present.







Spoke to the spoke guy regarding respoking my front rim. He's super busy but
next week sometime he should be able to squeeze me in. Getting the front redone
to an 18" same as the back and two matching vintage style tires.

The bike will be ridden around as is for a while. Dont really want to start painting the tank
yet, the fenders cant be done until the suspension is done and neither can the exhaust.
While the suns out i'm going to want to be riding it,so on the rainy days i can work on it.

For the suspension to be done it would have to be off the road for at least a week id say.


Thanks for looking.
 

elless1

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Decided to have a crack at the exhaust. I bought two triumph thruxton mufflers cheap,
and had one destined for the bike. The muffler on there that i made was to loud for my liking
so i got out the tools and started hacking.

Here's what i started with. The bent bit of tube with the flange on it, and various bent bits of tube
from the extractors off of my corolla. While getting the exhaust off one of the bolts snapped
off in the head. Not overly impressed with that effort and will need tending to at a later date.








And here it is on the bike,finished. Well kind of.





Looks like i take the dumbo award for the year. Custom made the whole lot beautifully
to gel with everything,even took into account the snapped stud in the head and made
it so the exhaust mount bolts pull it into place,fitted it all up,painted and cleaned,
then i went to start the engine.

Woops. Bloody kickstart.

The kickstart will work a bit but smashes the muffler. If the bike had electric start, obviously it
wouldnt be a big drama,but it's kick only. Oh well,the whole lot will have to come off and be redone.
Shame really,sounds bloody great,looks good and has good power. Oh well. At least
i did a really accurate job of stuffing it up.haha

Also picked up a chrome fender so i can sort the rear fender out and do it properly.
It's raining on sunday so i'll pull it off the road then and start working on it. For now
time to ride. And smash the muffler everytime i want to start it..lol.

Cheers.
 

VS 5.0

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As I was scrolling through those pics, I was wondering how the clearance was going to work.....nek minut.

Keen to see how his turns out in the end.
 

Wozza

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Seeing as your doing it again, how about checking out some maths on correct length of header pipe :)
have a look around for a calulator something like this
Exhaust Length
 

elless1

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I'm not going to go that far with the exhaust. The amount of gain wouldnt be worth the headaches on this bike.
I'll just make it as free flowing to the muffler as possible and it will be the length i need it to be to position
the muffler where i want. Being a thruxton muffler it's massive so placing it will be a bit of a nightmare.
That can wait for now.

I've been doing work on the bike but my computer is stuffing up and lets me use the internet but nothing else,
no start menu or anything so i havnt been able to upload pics.

This week ive-

Sent the wheels to the spoke guy for rebuilding and tires (I'll have them back next week)

Removed front and back brake calipers,cleaned and painted them

De-tabbed the rear of the frame and am moving things around and cleaning things to
make the bike tidyer.

I've considered having a go at doing the swingarm while everythings apart but not overly
confident at the moment and would be better off tidying things up ready for my wheels
to come back so i can ride it again for a while before winter really sets in.

Last week i bought some plastidip and did the tank black,just so it's not in primer, and modified my chrome
fender to fit on the back.The bike looks ten times better at the back.Also chucked on some bar end mirrors that came in the mail and
i'm waiting for more stuff to be delivered.

Going to have to look at getting this computer fixed.

Cheers.
 

elless1

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O.k the computer has decided to play for a while so i'll get some pics up before it cracks the
shits again.

These are just some pics of the chrome fender i got (front fender off some old 250)
and the bike with it fitted.The brake lights getting changed but i just put the old
dirtbike one on initially so i could ride it.
The tank also has been plastidipped in these pics.






While i had the wheels off i pulled the calipers off,pulled the pads out,cleaned them up
and gave them a coat of paint. Not big on red but i'd ran out of my black i use.



Cheers.
 

elless1

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The respoking guy rang today and he squeezed me in and did them sooner than i thought.
Got the bike together,bled the brakes and went for a little spin. Here's some happy
snaps of how she sits now.







It will stay like this for a while until i descide to take it off the road for a few weeks to
sort out the suspension. Overall i'm pretty happy with how it's turned out so far,hell
of a lot nicer to ride with smooth tires on it. Transforms the bike. And they look the part.

Next on the list is to sort out a front fender and fit my new tailight to the back.

Cheers.
 

SaUte

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Looking good mate.
Love bikes myself,been riding for 30 years ,have an XJR1300 at the moment :)
 

elless1

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SaUte, you must be a pretty descent rider if youve been knocking about for that long on two wheels. haha.
1300cc is probably a thousand too many for me right now. Still not used to the bike or riding
and the weather isnt helping.

Do you match the revs when you gear down? Ive been looking into this a bit as theres a pretty decent
"thunk" when i knock it down a cog and it can't be too good for the gearbox over time.

I'm looking for something for my next project, another cafe racer,with more cubes. All the
traditional type base bikes like the old cb honda inline fours and the xs yammys and sr yammy's,
basically any old bike that is suitable is around the 5k mark for an ok/rough one.
Then youre left with an old bike at the end of the day.

I like old bikes but i also like the fact of something starting every go and not requiring such
regular maintenance. Also something with a lot more poke,and having a lot more poke with
ease. Not a strung out motor with a clutch that kills your arm or that you need to keep
the revs up on etc...

Was looking bikes like the honda cb400f or a bandit. aroiund mid 90's models.
Naked sport bikes basically.



Basically do the same as what ive done. Old metal tank,seat and some frame
customising. Can't seem to find many photos of the frame but it looks like
it has a double backbone which would have to be changed.

Would make a mean machine though. Looking old and having that motor in
it. Electric start and more power than i would ever need.

Yeh, i think the bike bugs bitten hard. haha
 

SaUte

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you must be a pretty descent rider if youve been knocking about for that long on two wheels. haha.
I have had a couple of off's in that time mate,last one was a 'roo.........more good luck than good management , lol

I like old bikes but i also like the fact of something starting every go and not requiring such
regular maintenance. Also something with a lot more poke,and having a lot more poke with
ease. Not a strung out motor with a clutch that kills your arm or that you need to keep
the revs up on etc...
Exactly why I bought the XJR

The bandit would make a great project and they did make an XJR400 but not sure if they ever bought it to OZ.

i think the bike bugs bitten hard
That's how it starts,lol

DSC_0308.jpg
 

elless1

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Just looked your bike up, very nice indeed. Love the naked street style. My next
door neighbor had a 1200 bandit from new and sold it a couple of years back with
stuff all kms for like 3k. He's still spewin a bit over that i think. Thing went stupidly
hard and wasnt the fastest bike in the world. and it was stock.

The problem i'm having with using the sports type bike is the chassis design. A lot
of them have a broad shaped chassis,where as i want round steel tube.
The xjr actually looks real good chassis wise, and isnt even one i'd thought of but
like you mentioned, after having a bit of a look around the 400 version is near on
non exsistent here.

I'm just tossing up a few ideas for the next build. (even though this one isnt finished.haha.)

I was looking at doing an engine conversion on a bike,like a modern efi 500cc multi cyl motor in
an old classic style frame,or a modern say 650cc thumper engine in an old frame. There's a
few older 250cc style frames about,how small they are physically to ride or how they
would handle 50hp as opposed to say 20 that they came with i have no idea. Sure would
be fun though. I can just imagine an old suzuki gn250 with a nutter 650 dirtbike engine
in it. Would be...fun.

Thinking about it,insurance and things would be a nightmare. I'm guessing like cars though there's
a few bikes out there with engines they shouldnt have and i guess with a quiet exhaust
and riding sensibly they get left alone. At the end of the day i dont think (if it's a well done job)
half the coppers would know what motors suppose to be there.

I've taken into consideration about brakes and suspension too. I think the way to do this
project would be to buy a crashed donor bike and a rolling registered bike with no motor/
stuffed motor and go from there.

Anyone else with any input on working on bikes,bike engines,ideas etc, chime in. It's all
very new to me im just throwing around some ideas. Didnt find much on the net about
engine swaps for bikes. Probably good reason for this.

Cheers.
 

elless1

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The plastidip was giving me the shits,as it didnt like petrol much, not
that i thought it would. Anyway,had to pull my finger out and start thinking of paint.

Ive never really liked red but i remember when the BA falcons came out
they had a reddish/orangy colour that took my eye all them years ago. Changes
colour a bit in different light. Found out the colour was called vixen red.
Not a special coulour,came out on base model falcons and some of the xr models.

Wanted a black stripe up the guts,what better black to use than the the black
i had lying around. Holden phantom black. Same paint i used on my ute.

Ripped all the plastidip off first,sanded the primer back and layed down a couple
of coats of the black. Then wait an hour and mask off the centre line.



Then shoot the red a few times.



Then while it's tacky,pull the tape off and hit it with a few coats of clear.



The last photo isnt the best,once its dry i'll get some better pics.

Cheers.
 
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