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.

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.

Sparky, You’re Grounded!

I finally managed to find a new (or new to me) pair of pulse generators to replace the bad pair on the 1984 Honda VT 700C I’m currently resurrecting to a new life as a rat bike bobber.

Replacing the pulse generators required me to disassemble the right sight of the bike, including brake and floor boards, right side exhaust, a piece of the frame, the right side of the crankcase, the clutch inner and outer, and, finally, the pulse generators.

Never, never, never by a bike that won’t start.

These electrical issues have required me to really step up my game, and I’m actually glad I had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of motorcycle electrical systems. It’s not so intimidating any more. But it still is a pain in the ass.

So, six months after picking up the bike, I finally have spark on the spark plug.

When I firsts buttoned everything up and cranked the engine over with a spark plug out if the cylinder, I experienced a huge sinking feeling when the plug didn’t spark. After scratching my head for half an hour, I went back to the VT700 shop manual and read the troubleshooting procedure again.

I realized that I’d laid the spark plug on a non-grounded surface. Without being grounded (like it is when it’s actually in the engine), the spark plug won’t spark. This is basic motorcycle mechanics and basic physics.

After extracting my head from my rear, I placed the spark on the cylinder head, and watched it spark away.

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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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Melting the Parts-cycle

I knew rebuilding a 1984 Honda VT700C was going to challenge my meager skills, but I didn’t expect to be stopped in my tracks by a bad stator that refused to separate from the clutch cover.

At first I thought it was just an issue of leverage: it’s hard to get a solid grip the stator in one hand and the clutch cover in the other. I did manage to get what I felt was a good grip, and proceeded to twist and tug and turn and tap (and maybe bang a little), but that stator didn’t budge.

I got online and surfed the forums for a clue as to where I was going wrong. Did Ibmiss a hidden bolt? Did it pull straight off or thread onto the case (the new stator seemed to be finely threaded). My usual go-to site for the VT700C, HondaShadow.net, was silent on the issue.

I was tired, frustrated, and seriously considering parting the rest of the bike out on eBay. Then I did what I should have done five minutes after figuring out the stator was stuck: I called Big Daddy for advice.

He took time out of his shop renovation project (new drywall, new shelves, and an actual ceiling instead of bare beams) to listen to my problem. I texted over a few photos of the stator and clutch case so he could see the fresh batch of heartache I’d managed to find.

But, of course, Big Daddy had the answer.

He told me to head down to Autozone and pick up a can of CRC Freeze-Off, which is designed to dissolve rust and other muck that can cause bolts, screws and parts to bind together.

I picked up a $5 can of CRC Freez-Off (and another $50 worth of tools I don’t really need but probably will some day).

Back in the garage, I used the Freeze-Off ti liberally soaked the rim of clutch cover where the stator attached. I could see the grime dissolving and rinsing away at the edge, but I was skeptical about it actually penetrating deep enough to unlock the part. I started tugging and twisting and pulling again, but nothing happened.

I read the back of the Freez-Off can again, but paid attention to the instructions to “wait two minutes’. So I sprayed again and waited.

After two minutes, I got my grip on the clutch cover and stator, and I started twisting and wiggling. After a few seconds, I felt the stator shift a quarter of an inch on the clutch cover. I started pulling and wiggling some more, and with surprisingly little muscle, the stator popped right off.

CRC Freez-Off delivered on its promise once, but I had another test for it to prove if this was just luck, or if it actually works.

The clutch bolt where it attaches to the clutch slave cylinder was so stuck I was worried bout stripping the bolt if I put any more muscle (or body weight) into it. So I used the CRC Freeze-Off again.

It took a couple of applications, several minutes of waiting, and a little more muscle than the stator, but I managed to loosen the bolt from the clutch slave cylinder without stripping it or hurting myself.

So, CRC’s Freeze-Off gets top accolades from Oden Motor Shop.