Yamaha SR250 - Cafe Racer
After paint stripping tank + Some polishing + Inverted handles
This is my first bike. I did my Pre-Learner Rider course 3 months ago. Although I was only riding a Honda CB250 but I was addicted. Riding is just liberating!
One day I popped into DEUS EX MACHINA, and got blown away by their bikes. Now I'm inspired to replicate similar designs on my bike.
I chose the SR250 because it is small and nimble enough to manage through traffic. It's half the price of an SR400/500. The seat height difference is only a few centimeters. It hits about 120-140 km/hr, which is enough for me. It has spoked wheels (19 front, 17 rear), and a clean tank. The engine is relatively new and starting is a breeze. The down side to me is the measly 20hp and the bike overall looks a bit daggy.
I plan turn this ride into a cafe racer over the next 12 months. Just really simple stuff that I can manage.
1. Clean bike
2. Paint strip tank, polish and buff
3. Paint engine
4. Angle grind off pillion pegs
5. Paint Wheels and fit Firestone tyres
6. Paint frame
7. Buy a small headlight - 4"-5.5"
8. Buy mini gauges. Hopefully mount them on frame, below the controls.
9. Buy new pegs (or perhaps 'rear sets' if I can get welding done)
10. Fabricate a fibreglass seat and upholster it with leather (or buy a seat, depending which is more cost efficient)
11. Mount indicators below exhaust pipe
12. Buy alloy rear fender
13. Buy a new tail light for rear fender
14. Buy a straight through exhaust - Deep sound VS torque? Hmm...
15. Buy mini switches for controls
16. Re-wire the entire bike - Tuck and hide
17. Shorten Front Forks
18. Buy mini rectangle mirrors VS round ones
19. Paint Tank - Reveal parts of the polished steel
This is my first bike, so I have no idea how a bike works. This is allEXPERIMENTAL!
But I hope I can learn as much as possible from everyone on this forum. I hope you guys enjoy reading about my build!
Took apart the whole bike
Re-wiring is a nightmare
Removed all the wiring. Took about 2 hours. Slowly removed, labelled, used permanent marker to draw symbols on the connectors like A, B, C, so I remember how they re-connect. Learnt that about 50 individual wires cling to each other behind the headlight.
Painted Exhaust - Experimentally
- Wire Wheel
- No Primer
- 5 x VHT Wrinkle Plus Paint
- Left it for 2 days untouched
Wrinkle turned out awesome. 2 mm tight crinkles.
Problem: It chipped off almost instantly, when I mounted the exhaust back on... Definately need Primer! I supposed paint just doesnt chrome OR it needed some heat fixing...
Painted Swing Arm - Experimentally.
- Got some cardboard boxes from Franklins and masking taped together a little booth.
- Used coat hangers bent into hooks with string to hand the swing arm up.
- 400 Grit Wet/Dry sanded it down in a # pattern
- Pine-o-Clean Detergent
- Preen Degreaser
- 5 x 'K&H Etch Primer' - White - But would probably go with black next time! As you can't see it white blotches when the paint chips off. Ideally it shouldn't but just in case! Sprayed in # pattern following can instructions.
- Pine-o-Clean Detergent
- Preen Degreaser
- 3 x 'K&H Gloss Black Finish' - Enamel
Prime coat looks awesome. Smooth, even. roughed it up with sand paper. The black... massive nightmare.... I sprayed the rear of the swing arm first, sprayed just enough so you can still see the white speckled through. Then sprayed another coat to seal it all in black. It looked great. Then sprayed the front, omfg. First shot, I drenched it in black, thinking it would be fine... It started to bubble like chicken pox all over the place.
Sanded it the bubbles down, thinking it was the paint's problem. Then shot another coat. Same thing. Looked fine first 3 secs, then it started to bubble and drool. I assume I didnt degrease it properly on the prime layer...
Does anyone have any clues to why the paint bubbled and drooled?
Tank - Stripped, Sanded, Polished and buff
- 1L - Diggers Paint stripper
- Glad wrap to seal the stripper in and get the most out of it. Apparently you can double the use of it.
- The paint is pretty thin... probably about 5 coats I can imagine, because it came off pretty easily.
Removed the engine ready to paint.
Started unscrewing some of the cross head screws on the side covers and because my drill is cheap (Ozito $35 - 12V), its pathetic low RPMs ruided the screw heads... Not to mention it's NiCd battery takes forever to recharge, so I get impatient and use it before it fully recharges. Turns out the battery is now permanently flat. Like I mentioned at the start of this blog - I have no idea...
So, now I have about 3 screws that I can't remove... I bought a screw extractor from Bunnings for about $30 and it drilled in about 3mm, gripped on to the inside of the screw, but it still would budge. Now I have a new drill...
Angle grinded off pillion pegs.
- $70 - Ozito Angel Grinder - 100mm, 850 Watt
- $3 - 100mm Steel Cutting Disc - Bought the thinnest one available from Bunnings
- PICTURES COMING SOON
This was pretty cool to see the sparks flying in all directions. Scared the **** out of me at first. It's quite threatening when your supporting hand is so close to a blade when you know it can easily cut off steel frames... Make sure you wear long pants, shoes, gloves and long sleeves that cover your wrist area... the sparks singed my skin...
Removed Tyre from Rear Wheel
- 3 Screw drivers
- 1 long pole with a flattened end
- My mate made a 20min video of me doing it (because apparently I looked like a monkey on Discovery Channel). If your interested let me know and I'll post it.
Once about 15cm of the tyre pops over the rim you can start sliding the screwdrivers down the edge of the rim and the tyre pops out (half anyway). Then you need to the same on the other side of the tyre. Spent about 2 hours prying the tyre off the wheel's rim. In the process I may have bent the rim. About a 1 inch area has lifted slightly revealing crackled chrome. Definately not going to bother with the front tyre... I'll just take it to a tyre shop.
Ordered some new tyres from Deus Ex Machina, which they will fit for me at the shop. I'm not 100% about sizing, as I want the largest possible rear and a slim front without compromising the stance too much into a forward leaning bike. Originally I wanted to fit a rear 450-18, but the tyre will rub the chain. I also wanted a 300-19 front, but the apparently slim tyres feel dents in the road. However you don't want to go too big otherwise you can't steer at all!
Current Tyres - Stock
- Front: Pirelli - 90/90-19 - 3.65" Wide, 26" Diameter
- Rear: Pirelli - 350-18 - 4" Wide, 25" Diameter
- Front: Avon Speedmasters - 325-19 - 3.4" Wide, 25.9" Diameter
- Rear: Firestone 400-18 - 4.25 Wide, 26.57 Diameter
So, in essence I will keep the front just as tall (0.1" lower), but raise the rear (1.57" higher) due to the wider rear tyre. There's about 0.45" before the rear tyre's diameter rubs the inside of the swing arm. Swing arm is 8" wide (at the centre of the wheel), which leaves about 1.87" each side of the tyre for turns. Apparently tyres balloon out when you ride. Not sure what will happen then... Hopefully that will work fine. What do you guys think?
De-Spoked Rear Front Wheel
- Drill with Flat Screw Tip
- Slowly unscrew
- Twist the Drill so it is positioned to hit the spoke nipple. So, if the nipple is positioned this way (|), I will position the Screw driver tip in this position (/) while being inside the nipple. Do that about 5 times and the nipple starts to freely twist off. This is so that when the WD40 soaks in through the stubborn rusted nipples, it twists the nipple with a millimeter's worth of impact... It seemed to work better than doing it normally, which actually ruined one of the nipple heads.
Some rusted parts where the nipples attached to the spokes...
Parts of the rim WERE cleaned (so I thought, but rust slowly built up over the past few days...). It's still about 10ish degrees in the evening in Sydney, so I supposed there's been a bit of humidity in my garage. Lucky I didn't prime those wheels impulsively!
Paint stripped the frame
- 1/4 tin of paint stripper...
- Wire wheel
- Be careful of the chassis plates. Maybe mask them off prior...
- Paint on the frame was REALLY thin, you could scratch it off lightly with a screw driver. I imagine it would only have been about 1 or 2 coats... Then again, the swing arm seemed quite tough to not scratch on the brake light spring... Or perhaps it was just many coats of thinned out paint, so it made even coverage without having to look thick (or scratch off noticeably).
Shopping for a small headlight - 4"-5.5"
I'm looking for something small, slightly bell shaped, chrome rim and ideally black.
Something slightly narrower than the forks, but not so disproportionately tiny... And, include a bottom mount. So far Posh seems to have a nice one. I assume it will be atleast $120-200.
Ebay has lots, but they don't come with bottom mounts...
Anyone know where to find these kind of headlights for cheap?
Thinking about the seat...
Fabricate a fibreglass seat and upholster it with leather (or buy a seat, depending which is more cost efficient)
Thinking about tearing up an old leather couch (like the ones you see thrown on the street) and use the leather to get a rustic vintage look since it already has distress marks from being sat on. I really don't dig the shiny new leather on some after market seats...
- Buy some neoprene from Clark Rubber
- Mark out the stitch pattern (pleats and edges)
- Use a thick needle and thick thread
- Hand stitch it through
- Staple gun it to the bottom of the seat I end up making...
Buy mini switches for controls
Jay Car has little toggle switches On-off-on and push to start buttons! Which I will need to drill holes into the handle bars to wire through... Will the bars snap??? Hopefully not a big deal... The thought is scary though.
An internal throttle would be nice to have. The cheapest was $134 but unfortunately they're pretty much all for 1" handle bars.
Does anyone know where I can find an internal throttle for 7/8" bars?
Shorten Front Forks
To lower the front end, I loosened the triple trees. Bottom first, then VERY slowly loosened the top. I let them come up as much as possible (about 1") and then tightened them back up.
I suppose this is only short term, as I would like to angle grind the forks shorter. Apparently inside the fork there is an pole. And that pole is what needs to be shortened.
Does anyone know how I get to those poles inside the fork?
I'm digging the whole polished steel look of the tank that I probably won't paint it just yet. After watching the bike start to rust when I hosed down the just paint stripped frame, I realise that steel rusts like a motherf*cker. Within 1 hour it had patches of brown oxidisation appear in patches where the water didn't drain off. I toweled it off straight away, WD40's and wire wheeled those parts! *Phew....*
I like VHT paint very much so. It's got a great nozzle, and when you make a mistake and go too close, you just can't notice! Even when you have over spray and it sprinkles onto the 1 minute dried paint, it just blends right in! Bear in mind, I am comparing to K&H, which I found was not very forgiving. I can't find a VHT Clear Coat
Could anyone recommend a good clear coat that they have used on a steel tank before?
Tank + Partly painted frame.
Tank: 95% Polished
Frame: VHT Bar and Chassis Paint - Gloss Black
N.B. VHT Rocks! Smooth, even coats, true colour... But not very strong.
I'm yet to try Rust **** Epoxy Enamel though... Maybe next time I'm in Bunnings... Anyone got any experience with Rust ****?
Correct me if mistaken guys, but the list of possibly damaged parts include:
1. Top End Gasket
2. Clutch Cover
To fix it I will need:
1. To replace all the Gaskets when I reassemble the motor (complete Top End Gasket set, which includes an extra clutch cover)
2. New Piston Rings
Potential engine upgrade at the same time:
1. hotter cams
2. high compression piston
From what I have gathered, the SR250 shares parts with XT250, TT250 and XS250.
Feel free to elaborate and explain how sh*t works because after all, this is my first bike. I genuinely have no understanding about bikes, especially the technical jargon is or does. However, I am trying to learn quickly.
Some pictures from my phone (Apologies for the quality):
As you can see from the light relflection, there's some orange peel on some parts that needs to be sanded back and recoated.
Here's a few extra pictures of the top clamp from the triple tree. How do I remove the ignition? What's those two things holding it in place? Is it a rivot like object I can just drill into to remove?
The rim has been clear coated, which is quite glossy, but only slightly more than the hub.
How do I remove this brake plate from the wheel? I thought I could paint around it, but it is proving to be a PITA to paint around. Especially because I need to position the spokes at different angles and tape them down so the paint covers the right areas properly. But even still, at the end of the day it won't be an even finish and I will need to sand it back. Therefore, I will I will need a final coat or clear coat which will need to have all the spokes out of the way to make the surface perfect.
Some pictures... Inside, outside, close ups...
I can't seem to pop that 'rubber bung' out... I don't want to use too much force... How do I open it up?
I think I still need to buy parts:
After 2 or 3 hours and many references to the wiring diagram and my own labelling (permanent marker written on tabs), I managed to connect most of it back together.
Here's what works right now:
- Brake light
- High beam
- Horn works
What else should I check?
The thing with this bike is that you can't run the headlight and gauge lights until the engine is on... How do I know? I rode the bike until I ran out of petrol once, it resulted in me rolling the bike home (2kms) in 1am darkness... Hopefully after the engine is mounted and back together the headlight and gauges will light up.
[COLOR="DarkOrange"]The Plan for Electrics:[/COLOR]
- Ignition switched to 'On' allows EVERYTHING to light up.
- When engine **** switch is hit, EVERYTHING stays lit up.
- 2 Start Switches (handle bar and frame)
- Ignition on the frame
- Hazard light switch (All indicators on together)
- Air horn?
[COLOR="DarkOrange"]More Parts Painted:[/COLOR]
[COLOR="DarkOrange"]Started Some Assembly:[/COLOR]
Old Rear Wheel + Some colour to guide assembly.
New Rear Wheel
What's the proper way to respoke wheels? Or should I say, 'reassemble' the spokes to the wheel? I find that the rim is probably oval shaped because the spokes aren't positioned as tight as they used to be i.e. some spokes may be 0.5mm tighter than others. Hence, when I did an experiment of rolling the assembled wheel 5m on a flat surface, it drifted off by 5cm to the right..
But perhaps when the tyres are on there won't be much difference, since the wheel will be spinning at 60 km/h! Seriously, would I notice the difference?
I made a seat pan and battery box out of fibreglass, that are about half done. The battery box is quite nifty, it's got a hinged lid and a lock. I need to figure out some way to mount it to the bike.
Thoughts: Weld some mounts and use Zip Ties vs Fibreglass Mounts vs Steel Mounts
Quite proud of the box so far (yay). It too a lot of time measuring, marking, fiddling, sanding, cutting etc. Next time, definately making it out of sheel metal.
Some sides are still a bit thin, which I'll need to thicken up the glass.
Thinking about a Rear Fender: Fibreglass on up (which I hear from friends who build 'low rider' bicycles is a PITA to curve up vs A Harley Custom Fender on ebay or something.
A battery powered motorbike! Cool!
The battery looks big enough... Thinking of a way to mount the battery box and fit all the wiring bits and pieces properly. Challenging, I know. Any suggestions?
I hope to limit the use of any kind of electrical tray. That way, I can make use of the frame and keep the mounts provided. Oh, the battery box has about a fistfull of room, that I hope to fit a cigarette lighter inside for a GPS/iPhone connection. How would I add that to the wiring diagram?
Wiring Diagram (For anyone curious)
Anyone know where to find a clearer, less pixelated diagram by any chance?
A Diagram I drew up to visualise where what goes:
(n.b. There are two electrical devices which are in the wrong places)
Any help on the electrics is much much appreciated!
P.S. Larger pictures for reference:
[COLOR="DarkOrange"]What's the best way to learn how re-wire a bike? [/COLOR]
Here's the Plan for Wiring
- Ignition Key switched to 'On' - Allows EVERYTHING to light up, including headlight, indicators, brake light, speedo back light and other safety necessities. Hence, when the **** switch is hit, EVERYTHING stays lit up.
- Add an Ignition Key switch to the frame
- Add a Hazard Light switch (All indicators on together)
- Add a Cigarette Lighter/Auxiliary Power - This should fit inside the battery box to power a GPS/iPhone which is I'm constantly needing to recharge.
Got back from the night out and I suppose Bourbon and coke inspired me to do more on the bike.
- Upholstered, kind of...
- Mounted engine, kind of...
- Realised the Air Filter faults with the battery box...
- Back to sanding up the battery box so it fits the air filter.
Tinkered some more with the SR250 over the Christmas holidays. Some cool progress which is good, but before she's on the road there's still a small list of things to do.
Engine got rebuilt at the mechanic. Bolted back onto the bike. New gaskets ordered from Yamaha (Bikebiz Parramatta) and installed. Kick start parts all sourced and is installed and turns the engine over. Kick start arm was off an XS650 which needed to be grinded and filed to prevent rubbing against the side case. Electric start is still inside (can they coexist?). Front wheel rebuilt with 21" rim and new spokes (thanks to Chivos in Granville). Gloss black powdercoat treatment on the rim, brake disc, drum brake and a bucket of miscellaneous levers and mounts (thanks to Chris from http://www.cravedcoatings.com).
Swing arm got touched up with paint, bushings and caps got polished up and back on nice and tight with the chain on and bearings lubed. What is acceptable chain slack? I've got about 4 cm range from when the chain is stretched up and down. Realised I need to remove/modify the kick stand because my rear tyre is in the way (and nothing can come in the way of that tyre). Probably will just remove it for the mean time and re-weld a new bridge inside the 'A' shape stand and find a shorter spring (for the new tight fit).
Welded a loop to the rear seat frame. A mate lent me his tube bender and managed to get a near 'U' shape bend. After some cutting, aligning, welding, grinding and much repetition of these steps it began to look alright. Structurally probably not the best weld since the tubes weren't flush jointed nor chamfered nor MIG welded so the weld might not be "deep" enough or flush enough to make a structurally perfect weld, but it shouldn't matter too much with this being more a cosmetic frame modification. Not sure if it will have any dramas with engineer inspection stuff for rego?
Wiring is a remaining pain in the *** yet to be fully figured out. Installing the kick start and removing the battery has confused me a bit as to where the wiring was when I last left off. Light's and stuff used to work, now **** isn't turning on. Once the wiring is connected properly I hope I'll hear her purr again.
I've been reading up on capacitators or 'Battery Lessers' but they all seem to suggest a medicore supplement for a real battery (be it acid or gel) with lights flickering, blinkers not responding, electricity draining too quick, holding no charge, pumping too much current randomly which wil require resistors etc etc... well at least from what I've read and according the Kiwis in this forum (http://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/showt ... 6c778444b7) there's just so much debate...
Here's the pictures. The rest are stuck on my iPhone. Putting em up soon!
Fabricated a new headlight mount that sticks further out than the mount the light came with. The wires and cables are subsequently tidier with less rubbing from the previous tight squeeze. Usual drill, grinded, filed, sanded and painted in satin black. Though the light does angle out to the left a tad, so might straighten it out later on.
Made this nifty indicator mount that attaches to the lower engine mount. It now holds my regulator/rectifier underneath the bike, just out of plain sight but still will get plenty of air to cool it down. Love it.
Made a new speedo mount to sit in front of the top bridge. Not what I originally planned. I wanted a side mount speedo, sitting just above my knee, but my stock tank is too wide for it and it would rub the bars/horn switch when turning. Maybe when the Wassal tank comes I'll play around with it and see what I come up with.
Bought a bunch of stuff lately.
Capacitor 8,000 Uf, 25v from Element 14
I wanted something with higher Uf but I want to tuck everything under the seat, so size was a concern. I'll give this one a go and see if I have any issues before considering an upgrade. The worst I've read about from an under rated cap is the flickering of the head light when the revs are low when idling and when indicators and brake light takes power.
Electrical Connectors from Vintage Connections
Got a heap of different bullet connectors, plugs and some 3M electrical tape. Having enough connectors makes rebuilding the wiring harness less risky - When you stuff something up. A new crimp tool is HIGHLY recommended. Using a crappy tool that was lying around the garage and it sucks *** (I've got bloody hand cramps), might hit up JayCar to grab a better one. The package came in weeks time, not bad. It's all quality stuff so... yeah I recommend Vintage Connections if you're after OEM type connectors. Didn't really buy into the idea of their kits because I had a rough idea of what I needed.
Anyone bought anything from John Turk? Apparently they wholesale electrical stuff. Need to buy some new thin wires and the local JayCar is hopeless.
It took me a year and half to track this baby down. I'd seen it before but had no idea it was a vintage after market Triumph part. The whole time I'd assumed it was something completely custom made. Apparently there's a genuine article with made in Britain stamped on the inside of the tank etc. There's similar versions from Hap Jones.
The tank's nice but not in the best shape, rusty, dented etc just from being 40 years old and used I suppose. I might cut the tank in half, hammer out the dents and donate my stock tank's tunnel to it.
After grinding and sanding the paint back, I discovered "MADE IN ENGLAND" stamped inside - Score! Really happy it's the genuine article. At the same time, that explains the numerous dings it has. There was a shitload of filler used on this tank, I'm talking about a 1 cm coating all over. Luckily there weren't any holes in the tank. I probably will load it up with the same amount of filler incase there's hairline cracks that I can't see. All those dents have got to weak points, right?
There's about 3 layers of paint, white, fluorescent yellow, and black which either points to a previous owner that was high on acid with multiple personality disorder OR just dates back the history of these tanks used for board track racing.
Gas Tank Cap
Bought a low profile cap that screws in with a lock. Not sure if it will work with the Wassall, again just wait and see, maybe buy a new bung and weld it on. From memory the cap was 44mm. Scoping out these bungs.
I asked a few of these bung retailers, they said Harley bungs are usually standard. I screwed the cap into the Wassell tank and it fit! Well, on the inside hole anyway, since the outside flange is for British style caps.
The question now is, do I buy a VENTED or NON-VENTED fuel tank bung. I think the vented ones will allow the cap to screw completely in until it locks, where as the non-vented ones have a stopper that prevents the cap from going in too far so as to 'vent' the fuel? Apparently vented is better but I don't understand why? My stock SR250 tank is just a hole (non-vented) and the Wassall is the same (non-vented). Don't you need the cap to be tight as hell so it creates a vacuum for the fuel to pump through the petcock??
Wassell Tank - Sidelined
The Wassell tank was so exciting but has become a minor let down. Ok, probably a major let down The point is, it just takes too much work. Work that I can't really do on my own, and I also can't afford.
The tunnel 'fits' width and height wise, but I failed to take into account all the electrical stuff I have stuffed under the tank running down to the seat area. The tunnel area on the stock tank is huuuge compared to the tunnel on the Wassell, that's literally just a tunnel. No room for coil, no room for relays, not even room for the electrics' tiny mounts.
If I am to mount the Wassell properly I'll need to:
- Widen the tunnel by 2 cm to allow the flush C shaped mounts with the rubbers.
- Weld on a new fuel bung.
- Find a 1960's petcock and reattach it.
- OR Patch up the petcock aread (because the Wassell petcock sits too far back) and transfer the stock petcock over.
- Weld seat mount probably transferring part of the stock mount over.
I need expert help because if I stuff up, I'll have destroyed a previously immaculate SR250 tank that will have huge holes where the mounts used to be and a possibly destroyed Wassell tank with all the niceties missing like bung, petcock, vintage brazed mounts, and that branded tunnel. Not good! haha
Here's some videos of a pro doing the work. Keep in mind the dyno style tank he's working on has a flat base, which is more straight forward... it's also a blank canvas tank...
Then again, it's quite sacrilegious to waste a 50 year old vintage Wassell tank on a measly SR250. I wouldn't be surprised if I was offending a cult group of Triumph lovers. Yeah, if I can't gather the funds for professional tank welding labour, i'll give it a miss and save the Wassell for a future project.
Got a wiring thing that's REALLY bugging me...
Majority of the electrics are wired, heat shrunk, crimped, connected and super tidy. Well, compared to before anyway. Everything works EXCEPT the turn signal indicator! I just can't get that LED to work... So far I've tried wiring the following:
- GREEN & DARK BROWN to either end of the LED
- BROWN WHITE & BLACK (ground) to either end
- BROWN & BLACK - I think that created a short... so don't try this one...
I've ended up shorting the original relay and I've had to buy new ones. I got a 2 pin and a 3 pin relay. I can't get either to work. The 3 pin is for LED's and it kinda works but only one turn signal flashes. Probably will need a higher wattage 3 pin relay. It's like $50 for a stocker...
Somebody's gotta know how to wire this up!
Category: Yamaha SR250
Short Title: Yamaha SR250 - Cafe Racer
Full Title: Yamaha SR250 - Cafe Racer
Raw Date: 2013-09-30 05:36:31
Nice Date: 5:36 am, September 30, 2013
Content Length: 27481
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