I write a lot about what I like about motorcycling and why I got into it and what keeps me interested in riding. One of the things that has always been a fantastic part of being into motorcycles is the motorcycling community.

Now, I suppose any “hobby” or lifestyle or what-have-you has this same thing and that’s one of the things that keeps people together as a group and entices people to join in the fun. But since my proclivities tend toward the motarized two-wheeled kind, I am a bit biased.

Mind you, I am writing this after four hours of sleep and some wine, so please pardon my mumblings.

I recently picked up a new project. One of the things about me is that my eyes are often bigger than my abilities. I am not a fabricator, nor am I a machinist. I am an okay mechanic when I can quiet the chatter in my head, but that often doesn’t happen before I get frustrated.

Tonight, I was talking with a few friends about this tendency of mine. Their response was that we are all motorcyclists and we help each other out. “Ask us for what you need help with and we’ll be there,” was the consensus.

This is one of the things that draws me back, over and over, to being part of a community. I have made some of my closest friends while standing around in freezing garages or sweating in the 112°F heat tinkering with a motorcycle.

Thank you.

1974 RD350 project

Got this in last night – from Oakland, CA:

It came with an untiltled RD400 rolling chassis (not sure what year yet)

I had enough energy to take off the seat and see how my old spiky seat will look  🙂

and had a friend join me

and some other friends came by to drink beer…er, help 🙂

If you want to see more pics, go here:

Initial thinks:
+ I’m gonna get rid of that gawd-awful rear fender/tail light/turn signal combo.
+ I’m considering getting a headlight bucket that has the speedo integrated in it and getting rid of the huge instrument cluster. We’ll see. I might go with a simple tach/speedo set up too.
+ clip ons
+ gotta figure out how to attach the spiky seat. My last R5 it was just zip tied. This time I’d like to figure out how to affix the hinges to the fiberglass ? ….
+ hmmm. mag wheels.
+ rear sets (cuz I can’t just use the passenger pegs)
+ gotta get some pipes on this thing. must ring-a-ding-ding.
+ put some inline quick release for crossover tube and gas lines. I like the copper tubing some ppl use (seen some great photos on this forum recently). Might look into that.
+ leaky fork seals
+ pitted forks (at least the right one. forgot to check out the left)
+ oil leak underneath coming from ? (of course “oil leak” and “two stroke” are practically redundant….)

It also came with two boxes of parts! I’ll go through those today and see what all I got.
I need more shelving.

building a bike in my mind

Vintage motorcycling is a disease. We are addicts and even unemployment can’t staunch our cravings and impulsive endeavors. We spend hours pouring over Ebay and on motorcycle forums for parts and ideas of how to better our creations.

I enjoy the street-tracker look and I can appreciate some choppers and bobbers, but my first love was and continues to be the café racer. It’s gained popularity over the past few years and for a good reason; function and form tied together in one perfect motorcycle.

One of the things that is so great about bike building is it is not just a mechanical job, but it is a true artistic undertaking. No one café bike is like the other.

I was going to go on a 24hour round trip mad dash to pick up a 1974 Yamaha RD350 and see a cluster of old friends along the way, but it worked out better (read: more economically) to have the bike shipped to me.

I am looking forward to getting my new-to-me bike in the garage. In my imagination, I’ve already fit the bike with four or five different seat configurations, clip-ons, chambered pipes and a few other modifications. It’s a new project, something to contemplate in the garage on sleepless nights and tinker with during the long, hot days. Hopefully soon, it will cease to be just another RD, and will become a work of art…that I will take on the race track.