SOLD: Honda Bobber – Retro Army Air Core

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Built from a 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C, this Army Air Core inspired bobber is a fun ride and real head turner.The bike has 40,600 plus miles, but the rock-solid, well-maintained Honda V-Twin has another 60,000 miles in it before the next overhaul. It has a new Virginia safety inspection valid until May, 2014, and is registered in Virginia with a clean title. The tires have 10,000 miles or so left in them.Over the last six months, I rebuilt the bike from the ground up. including carbs, clutch master and slave cylinders, front brake calipers, clutch, pulse generators, alternator, ignition system, and more. It has a fresh oil change, and brakes, forks, and cooling system have been recently serviced.In addition to being converted to a bobber, I’ve made the following customizations:

  • Custom leather sprung solo seat
  • Ignitech ignition control unit
  • High performance Keihin carburator modifications and jet
  • High performance air filter and intake modifications
  • Transparent glass/chrome fuel filter
  • LED marker light and turn module (currently wired up only for marker lights)
  • New battery
  • 12vdc accessory / battery tender port
  • New stator/alternator
  • Custom drag pipes with titanium heat wrap, mini baffles (so it’s loud but not obnoxious) and chrome tips
  • Burly Slammer Shocks
  • “Streetfighter” fairing with internal mounts for GPS, iPhone, etc
  • Custom fabricated forward controls and floor boards
  • Aftermarket handgrips
  • High-visibility mirrors
  • 2.5 gallon gas tank
  • Aftermarket clutch hydraulic line
  • Custom fabricated retro-style side-mount tail light and license plate bracket.
  • LED wheel rim lights
  • Cammo Green Plasti Dip paint job (leaves original paint intact)
This bike is ready to ride today.

View the eBay Auction.

Photo Gallery: 1984 Honda VT 700C Bobber Project

This 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C is being rebuilt from the ground up, and then chopped back down again to create a bobber.

Vote on Your Favorite Color for the Honda Bobber

It’s almost time to start bolting the last pieces back together on the 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C Bobber Project. The responses from the previous Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Bobber survey were a bit unclear, so I decided to give ya’ll a simple choice: what color should I paint this bike? Here are a few mockups, so let me know what you think. If your preferred color isn’t there, let me know, and I’ll see if i can mock it up, too!

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Floor Matte Black

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Gunmetal Gray

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Lil’ Boy Blue

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Fabulous! Pink

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You Can Pry My Assault Rifle Out of My Dead, Cold Hands Green

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Rusted Red

Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Bobber?

imageThe 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C Bobber project has definitely taken on a post-apocalyptic flavor.

Last week, readers voted to mount the chopped trailer fender I mocked up. I was worried that it might make the bike look a little too finished, but the galvanized steel fender seemed to fit with the side mounted tail light and license plate holder I picked up. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the tail light is actually a trailer light.

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Overall, it seems to fit well together, but I’m still torn over how I should paint it when I finish wrapping up the last of the mechanical issues. Here are a few ideas I’m kicking around:

– Post-Apocalyptic Army Retro in the spirit of the Fallout game franchise.
– Zombie Bobber with inspiration from Walking Dead, Resident Evil, and zombie maven Jesse Petersen’s Living With the Dead series.
– Mandalorian Bounty Hunter (if you have to ask, you don’t deserve to know).

As always, I want to here what you think, so please, join in the conversation!

Honda Bobber Project Survey: Do We Need A Fender?

Should the VT 700C Bobber have a rear fender or none? Here it is with the rear tire bare.
Should the VT 700C Bobber have a rear fender or none? Here it is with the rear tire bare.

Here is the VT 700C Bobber Project with the rear fender mocked up.
Here is the VT 700C Bobber Project with the rear fender mocked up.

The 1984 Honda VT 700C Bobber Project is moving along quickly. There’s still several mechanical issue that need to be resolved, but while I’m waiting on parts, I’ve decided to spend some time on the cosmetics. While this may be a rat bike, I want it to at least be a pretty rat.

I’m really on the fence right now on whether or not I should put a hacked trailer fender over the rear wheel, or if I should leave the rubber exposed (and potentially my rear end if I slide off the seat). Since I can’t seem to make the decision myself, I’ve decided to reach out to Oden Motor Shop fans to help with this age-old aesthetic dilemma: to fender, or not to feder?

Take a look at the photos of the bike mocked up with fender and without, and share your comments below. I still have the front fender on the bike, but I would like to hear opinions on that as well.

Video: It’s Alive!

After six months spent rebuilding the electrical system, the 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C bobber project is finally running. It took a few shots of ether to wake it up, but it’s rumbling along. I’ve removed the baffles and replace the air box with higher air flow cone filters, so it runs a lean. Next week, I’ll try rejetting with a Stage 1 and Stage 3 jet kit. And then, maybe, I’ll start cutting.

Pulse Generator Transplant

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After troubleshooting every other electrical component on my 1984 Honda Shadow VT700C, I determined I’m not getting spark because I have a bad pulse generator. Later model bikes use a single pulse, but the ’84 VT700C has two pulse generators, one for each cylinder. This equates to double the possibility of failure and headache cubed when one or the other it actually does fail, since they have to be replaced together as an assembly.

Testing the pulse generators is a pretty simple process of disconnecting the pulse generator assembly from the rest of the electrical system and taking an OHM reading on the leads for each pulse generator. The connector is easily assessable, tucked away on the right side of the crankcase by the fuel filter.

One of the pulse generators tested at 440 OHMs, well within tolerances. The other pegged out my multimeter, indicating a bad pulse generator.

Finding a “new” OEM replacement proved to be impossible. At least three websites claimed to have the part, but when I spoke to a live salesperson, in each case I was told the part was discontinued and no one manufactures a replacement.

I tracked down a used pulse generator assembly on eBay. It’s amazing that idiots like me desperate enough to spend $100 for a $10 part. Since the one I picked up was the lowest priced on eBay, and since the VT700 is scrap metal without one, I considered myself lucky.

While testing the pulse generators is easy, replacing them is a pain. I had to remove the right foot controls, the right-side exhaust, part of the frame, the right crank case cover, and both the clutch inner and outer.

Before installing the “new” pulse generator assembly and putting the bike back together, I decided to test it. Just like the original, it had one good pulse generator and one failed pulse generator.

In the spirit of Dr. Frankenstein, I began hacking at the two assemblies, tossing the bad generators in the junk bin and cobbling the two good generators into a single pulse generator assembly.

When I began routing the pulse generator wiring back through the crankcase, I discovered I had shorted one cable by half an inch. Clearances are tight in the crank case, with the wiring routed around several moving parts, so that half inch may as well have been a mile.

I set my Frankenstein’s monster of a pulse generator assembly to the side, and decided to take a break to check my email and check the status of some other parts on order from eBay. On a whim, I checked to see if anyone had posted another pulse generator assembly.

And there it was: a pulse generator off of a 1983 Honda Shadow VT750, for $15, plus $5 shipping. What did I have to lose?

This assembly arrived two days later. Both pulse generators tested within specifications, and it routed perfectly into the crankcase.

Now it’s time to button this thing up and see if we have spark.

1984 Honda Shadow VT700C Brain Transplant

The electrical system on my project bike, a ratted-out 1984 Honda VT700C, is giving me nightmares. I’m in the process of replacing nearly every electrical component on this bike, including the wiring harness.

Between eBay and OEM replacements on Amazon, I’ve pretty much managed to get everything I need, except for one major component: the ignition control system.

In fact, on the 1984 VT700C has three separate boxes controlling ignition. I’m not really sure what each box does, but here’s what I need:

2 x IC Ignitor (red label) TID12-11 A ME9, mfg. Hitachi, Ltd.

1 x ICU-06 ME9, mfg. Hitachi, Ltd.

I have no clue what those numbers and letters mean, only that the replacements I can find are just as suspect as the boxes I gave on hand.

In researching this problem on HondaShadow.net, I came across a reference to a Czech company that has some experience making replacements for these old black boxes.

The company is Ignitech, and they have a wide range of programmable ignitions. Of course, getting the right ignition means emailing photos of your existing mess of wires and parts. But these guys have a reputation for getting it right, so I’m going to give it a shot and have them build me a new ignition system.

Stay tuned!

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Finger vs. Table Saw

In a match-up between a table saw, who do you think the winner is? My dad taught me at an early age to be extremely careful around power tools, especially his table saw.  When I was a little kid (and even into my early teen years), I would avoid even going out into the garage if I heard the whine of my dad’s table saw. I had a fearful respect of the tool that could turn a rough length of treated lumber into a anything from a fence post to a plank for the backyard deck, or even into a couple pirate swords for my big brother and me  (although mother was never fond of these particular creations).

But when my dad was at that saw, I was always careful not to disturb him. I could easily imagine his thumb flipping away from his hand along with a scrap of board. I even think blood was shed on the Altar of the Power Saw on one or two occasions, but this were usually just from flying splinters. Fortunately, my dad still has all ten fingers.

When I was old enough, even though I was a bit fearful, he taught me how to use that table saw, and I eventually became fairly adept at cutting whatever he asked without wasting a good piece of wood or losing a digit. But that uneasiness is always there when I hear the whine of a power saw.

But all that could change.

I recently came across a video on YouTube of the SawStop. In a nutshell, SawStop saws can detect the difference between wood and flesh by measuring the conductivity of the material being cut. When flesh is detected, an emergency stop is triggered, and the blade is halted within a few milliseconds, fast enough to prevent serious damage to whatever appendage happens to have found its way in the path of a spinning blade.  Of course, the emergency halt mechanism destroys the blade and the “crash cage” that absorbs all of that energy,  but the $60 replacement cost is probably worth at least one finger saved.

The video below illustrates the sheer awesomeness of the SawStop.

Father’s Day is coming up, and I’m thinking hard about getting one of these gadgets for my dear old dad, who taught me how fun and dangerous power tools can be. Then again, I’m a dad, too. And Father’s Day is coming up.

Learn more about the SawStop at SawStop.com.

I Brake for Working Brake Lights

100_0114I was first alerted to a problem with the brakes on my bike when I started slowing down to make the left turn into my neighborhood and was suddenly assaulted by a blaring horn an obscenities from behind me. The guy driving the express delivery truck must have been pretty mad, because I could hear him clearly over the rumpling of my Screamin’ Eagle, and inside my half-face helmet. I made a quick check of my turn signals (I new I hadn’t forgotten to press the left turn button), and everything checked out.

A few minutes later, when I was back at home, I ran through a quick check:

  • Did something fall off my bike and hit the other car? — No. Everything was where it should be.
  • Did I have anything offensive written on my clothing?— Nothing that would elicit more than a disapproving glare from my grandmother (then again, she was very open minded and tolerant).
  • Were my tail lights out? No. When I pressed the footbrake, it all lit up.

But…

I check the brake again, using only the handbrake, and tail brake light stayed dark.

When I took off the break lever, the pressure-pin on the brake switch (which the brake releases when depressed) was stuck in its housing. No amount of coaxing could get it out.

So I headed down to Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, VA, and picked up a replacement switch for about $30.00 USD.

I was a bit nervous about replacing the switch myself: I can turn a wrench and change oil, but electrical troubleshooting is a bit beyond me. But the replacement switch came with good instructions with lots of drawings, so I decided to go for it.

Removing the brake lever was a simple task, since I’d already done it to check out the problem. Removing the electical switch housing and getting in to the bad switch proved challenging because my wiring is run inside the handlebars, and there really was no slack.

The brake switch was completely burnt out and had melted itself in a locked position. I had to gently muscle it out of the housing.

When I go the new switch in, I found that the release button (the part the brake pushes in and lets out to trigger the brake signal) was jamming. I loosed the screw holding the switch in to give it a little play, and jamming ceased to be an issue. I suspect this is what cause the earlier brake switch to burn out.

After some close wiring work (at least it was close to me), I got the new switch in and screwed and bolted everything back together.

When I tested the brakes using the hand lever, the brake light lit up instantly.

Hopefully the express delivery guy appreciates my effort and won’t drop my packages in the mud.