Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RD350 Goldhead

Project "Goldhead" is this 1975 Yamaha RD 350 that a customer brought to us. After he bought it, he took it back to his house and dismantled it. He found all sorts of cool bits for it, like a very striking gold head (hence the name), new pipes, an electronic ignition, rear sets, and a fancy-schmancy swingarm--in fact, about 99 percent of the parts needed to put the thing back together.

Here it is as the customer found it on Craigslist--something like a confused drag bike or dirt tracker. Hard to say really what it's trying to be, but it's interesting. It's a good color, at least. I learned from Ian that yellow is the fastest of all colors: any yellow bike travels somewhat faster than the speed of light. (Thanks, Ian. I learn something new every time I come in here.) Not that it will be yellow when we're done with it. I'll leave you guessing as to what color it's going to be.

So the customer showed up at Twinline with the bike in a bunch of boxes. Ian and Isaac slapped another tank on the back to see what a chopped-up tank might look like as a seat. They decided that it looked pretty good.

As sometimes happens, the bike has taken on a life of its own. Orignally just a matter of putting a basket case together, it's now way into deep custom work. But you gotta go with how these things want to go.

Here's the aluminum swingarm that the customer brought in. They jabbed the screwdriver in there to see if the thing would fit. Voila! It does.

The guys prepped the bike to make a mockup, grinding tabs off and building the seat. The idea is that it will be a sleeper bike. It's gonna be under 300 pounds and have about 60 hp in the rear wheel, which should embarrass a lot of sport bikes. The customer, a proficient rider, will make full use of the Goldhead's abilities.

Here's Isaac cutting the tank in half to create the seat. Oooooh, sparks.

It's all prepped for a powder coat, which is a thermal painting process that cooks paint to the metal so you can't knock it off. This will we a pretty simple powder coat, so we'll get into technicalities when we do a more difficult one.

Here's what it looks like when they actually put it together.

"It's the kind of bike that doesn't put the wheel down until you hit fifth gear," Ian said.