The forks will need to be shorter. I see a good few bikes with the forks shortened by slackening off the pinch bolts and sliding the fork legs up in the yolks. Whilst that instinctively feels (and to me, looks) like a bit of a bodge, it has a lot to recommend it.
Firstly, it’s quick and easy. More to the point, it’s also quickly and easily reversible.
I decided therefore, to do just that as a first pass. That would give me time to assess the handling change, save me having to rebuild the front end in a hurry and I could always come back and shorten them properly afterwards. So it’s time to start on the rest.
This is the bit that I usually dislike intensely. Years of grime, rounded off nuts, bits that are seized up… and that’s just me! To be fair Little Suzi wasn’t too bad at all. There was very little in a particularly poor state.
Now, of all the new and clever tools that have been invented over the years there is one which stands out head and shoulders as the most useful aid to rebuilding and restoration.
The digital camera.
Gone are the days of a million tie on labels, bits of masking tape that either fall off the wiring or become illegible under grubby finger marks, copious notes on lost scraps of paper. Just take lots and lots of pictures of everything. Wiring is an obvious one, but the positions of washers and spacers, even introduce a measuring device for scale. I love the thing. So…
With the engine out and the front footpegs removed, the dog gets to see the proverbial rabbit.
I took the centre stand off early in the proceedings and gave it a clean and some new paint. Since the bike was going to be sat on it for most of the rest of the job it saved hassle.
This picture gives a good view of the original brake linkage… and reveals a fair amount of Suzuki standard ferrous oxide finish.
But after being sent off for bead blasting and powder coating she was looking much better. NOT A CHANCE!!!! This is just not that sort of restoration. What she got was a good rub down with wet and dry and coat of warm Hammerite smooth, cost roughly £10.
Footpegs and linkages
On the procurement front, that famous auction site yielded a pair of ex-Bantam clipons for £6 and a set of Aprilia 125 rear sets for £16. The rearsets were a bit bent and much repaired, having also lived on a Moto-team racer for some time, but they’d do the job.
Well, actually they wouldn’t.
The mounting points for the standard footpegs are set back a little from the level of the frame, see piccy. Fine if you’re going forwards with them, but it doesn’t work if you’re trying to go backwards. Needless to say, the mounting holes don’t line up anyway and whatever goes in there has to leave clearance for the end of the swinging arm spindle.
I did come up with a shape for a mounting plate that would do it, but to be really right it would have to be machined and whichever way it’s made there’s still too much cantilever (to clear the frame) for me to feel happy about it.
The answer to that problem, and another, came from the “Normous Newark Autojumble”. It was a fine event. We spent pretty much the whole day there and even my girlfriend enjoyed it, which is just as well, since she has entirely adapted her natural shoe and handbag spotting ability to be able to locate motorcycle parts at great distances. I cannot overstate what an invaluable and fulfilling feature in a lady this is.
Anyway, two bargains came out of it. One was a rather sad looking bum stop seat for £20 and the other was a battered old Clarke welding set for £25. I learned stick and gas welding as part of my apprenticeship (in electronics!) and then added MIG many years later when I was racing cars, so this looked like a good solution.
The right place for the footpegs was going to be somewhere within the triangle of frame that supports the rear pegs, so it should be a simple matter to weld a hefty fillet into the gap on which to mount the new ones.
Apart from one tube of one the triangles being slightly cranked, grinding off the rear footpeg mounts and sticking in a couple of bits of plate was as straightforward as it sounds.
Positioning the footpegs so that they were in the same place on each side of the bike took a couple of minutes thought, eventually achieved with two bits of string. One from the petrol tank mount and one from the rear seat mount. That gave me a triangle, the bottom of which was where the footpeg lives, simples!
The Aprilia pegs themselves were a bit knackered, so I chose to fit a £5 pair of new rear pegs instead and welded a 10mm nut to the back of the mounting hole, so that I could screw them in with lots of locktight and then fit a locknut behind them.
The levers were slightly more complicated, as they needed to stand out from the plate (to clear the linkages) and had plain shoulders on the mounting bolts which used to fit into a “bearing” area on the aluminium mounting.
In the end I had to drill out a couple of nuts to provide the “bearing” bit and then weld those and threaded nuts to the mounting plate. It was a little bit of a fart on grinding everything down to just the right height, but once done it all seemed appropriately secure and happy. The pictures tell the story better than I can, I used an old footpeg that I found in a box for fitting up.
Then of course, there are thelinkages…