SOLD: 1986 Honda Shadow VT1100C

THIS BIKE HAS BEEN SOLD!

I picked up this 1986 Honda Shadow VT1100C a few months ago and started restoring it for a bobber project. I’ve got it running now, but other projects are taking priority. This will make a great bobber, or it comes with a box of parts for complete restoration. The motor has about 52,000 miles on it, but is still running strong. It could be road-ready with solid weekend’s worth of work.

Here’s the good news:
  • Clean Virginia title
  • Strong motor with great compression
  • Transmission shifts through all gears
  • Newly sealed gas tank
  • New battery
  • New spark plugs
  • Fresh oil change and new filter
  • Recently cleaned air filter
  • Recent radiator flush
  • Exhaust in good shape
  • Original seat in EXCELLENT condition
  • All lights operational
  • Excellent clutch operation
  • Excellent front and rear brake function
  • Excellent front brake disks /rotors
  • Good rear drum brake shoes
  • No fluid leaks (it’s a Honda!)
  • Comes with physical Haynes manual and electronic Honda Shop Manual
  • The bike comes with a set of aftermarket turn signals and stems that just need to be installed.
Here’s the bad news:
  • Missing right side battery cover
  • Front and read tires hold air, but have dry rot
  • Missing fuse box cover
  • Surface rust on exhaust heat shield (appears to just chrome deterioration)
  • Broken turn signal stems (signals still work) (aftermarket replacement signals included in sale)
While I don’t offer a warranty on any used or project bikes I sell, I’m always willing to share technical knowledge with people who purchase my bikes. If you’re local, I’m also happy to lend a hand turning a wrench on a Saturday afternoon (as long as you provide the beer).

Check out the listing on eBay.

77 Ironhead Survey: Turtle Tank or Peanut Tank

The previous owner of the ’77 Ironhead replaced the stock peanut tank with a hard-to-find turtle tank common on Sportsters of the late 1960’s. The turtle tank certainly looks good when the bike is rigged like a cafe racer, but I’m leaning more towards a mild chopper or a bobber. With the nine inch risers I put on the bike (so I didn’t have to lean fat gut over the tankntomreach the drag bars), the turtle tank just doesn’t look right.

imageI like the extra fuel capacity, and the unique look combined with the rarity of the turtle tank are both big plusses, but I just don’t think it fits the “theme” of the bike.

I’ve reprinted the tank with black plastidip to keep the rust off the few areas where the original paint is chipping. If I keep it, I’ll give it a real paint job.

The previous owner did give me two peanut tanks with the bike, so I don’t have to come out of pocket for a new tank. I’ve actually had several offers on the turtle tank already, so I’m getting a bit incentivized to Del it.

Let me know your feedback (or if you want to buy one of the tanks) in the comments.

Custom Chrome Forward Controls: FAIL

Last week I picked up a set of Custom Chrome forward controls for the ’77 Ironhead. I bought the on eBay from a reputable dealer for about $200, and while I didn’t expect them to be the fanciest forward controls, I did expect them to be good basic controls.

The forward controls I bought we’re made for ’78 and up Ironheads, but looking at the photos on eBay, I knew I’d be able to fit them on the bike with just a few tweaks.

After doing a “Buy It Now” in eBay, it only took a few days for the controls to arrive. The eBay description said I was purchasing a complete forward controls “kit”, but my idea of complete and Custom Chromes idea of complete obviously differ.

The box was missing instructions, but I’m mechanically inclined enough that I was able to assemble the controls on my kitchen table. I had no problems assembling the kit until near the end, when I started hunting for the brake peg. After a bit of head scratching, I realized the box had three fold-up foot pegs and a shifter peg, rather than two fold up pegs, a shifter peg and a brake peg.

I contacted the eBay seller via eBay’s messaging service and tried to track down the company’s phone number. I did manage to find a possible number via Google, but the mailbox was full.

A bit frustrated, I tracked down Custom Chrome’s contact information and left a harried message on their voicemail.

i admit, I threw my weight around as a crack motorsports blogger, letting them know the product review I was working on probably wouldn’t be that great if they or their dealer didn’t get their act together.

A few hours after my flurry of emails and voicemails, I got a call back from the eBay seller, who apologized for the problem, saying these packages drop-ship from the manufacturer. He arranged for a footpeg to be rushed out to me. In our brief conversation, I did find it odd that he mentioned how cheap the Custom Chrome forward controls are that I selected compared to some of their other, pricier options.

He did send me some basic instructions for installing the forward controls. I was a bit annoyed that they called for me to cut down and drill my shifter knuckle rather than just including the part in the kit. The brakes lacked any real instructions.

Shortly after I got off the phone with the eBay seller, I got a call from a business development executive at Custom Chrome. I told him about the Oden Motor Shop blog, the Ironhead project, and the review I was writing on the forward controls. Like the eBay dealer, he mentioned the low quality of the forward controls I purchased, saying they were actually the product of a company they acquired several years ago.

So, after all of my parts arrived, my expectations for the Custom Chrome forward controls wasn’t too high. Because of my low expectations, I wasn’t too upset to discover just how crappy these forward controls actually are.

On the plus side, they bolted on easy.

And that’s it.

Once they were on, I mocked up the positioning and saw that the shift lever was too close to the peg, and the brake lever deflected so far forward that it hit the front fender.

Essentially, these forward controls are too far forward and too high.

Modifying these controls wouldn’t be too big of a deal (if you don’t mind trashing your existing controls) to make this kit work with the ’77 Ironhead, but it would be nice if Custom Chrome just mirrored the left controls to the right rather than providing a fancy bracket with mount points for a master cylinder.

But I didn’t bother modding the Custom Chrome controls. When I got on the bike to test the positioning, it became clear that it was made from seriously cheap components. I would feel unsafe with these on my bike.

I’ll give CustomChrome the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s top-dollar forward controls are top-notch, but they should really ditch this “value” line altogether.

And until someone comes up with a good quality “budget” forward control kit, I guess I’ll have to keep hunching over to ride my 1977 Ironhead Sportster.

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Project Bike: 1986 Honda VT1100C

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In April, I picked up another broken-down mid-1980s Honda Shadow, hoping to restore it to glory just like I did with 1984 Honda Shadow VT700C Bobber Project. This “new” bike is a 1986 Honda Shadow VT1100C, and I’m hoping the extra horsepower will give me an opportunity to enjoy it a bit before selling it. The VT700 was very peppy, but it was a bit underpowered for a big boy like me.

The VT1100 is in much better shape than the last Shadow. I was able to get it running today after reinstalling the air box and connecting a new battery. The fuel line to the rear carb is leaking, but this is any easy fix. I’ve also resealed the gas tank, and I am now waiting the requisite 96 hours for it to cure.

I ran the bike today off of the reserve tank today, and it started up fine, putted at low RPM, but when I gave it a bit more gas, it died. I suspect the fuel leak is causing the carb to suck in air through the fuel line. Again, it’s an easy fix, except I have to remove the air box again.

I’m hoping to have this bike ready for sale by the end of July. If you’re looking for a good “budget” cruiser, let me know.

Project: 1977 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster XLH 1000

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Some opportunities are too good to pass up. When I saw this 1977 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster, I knew I had to buy it. Fortunately, I just sold the 1984 Honda Shadow VT700C Bobber, so I had the funds.

Mechanically, the Ironhead is in great condition. There’s a minor fuel leak at the petcock, which I plan to fix with a little torque and fuel resistant thread sealant.

When it really heats up, the clutch makes a loud whirring sound when the bike gets really hot. Some have suggested it’s a bad bearing, while others think the primary chain gets some slack as the bike warms up. It’s great under normal riding conditions around the neighborhood, but I’ll need to fix it before any longer rides.

I’ve already purchased forward controls and nine inch throwback risers. I’ll post install photos as the come.

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.