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Suzuki 800 Intruder Club & Forum

A UK Site Dedicated To The Suzuki C800, VL800, VX800, M800, VZ800, VS800, C50, M50 Model Intruder / Boulevard / Marauder
 
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 Just built me a bobber from a VL800

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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:30 am

So I have wanted to build a bobber for a good 10 years. I did try way back, but there weren't the parts around over here, and I didn't have the fabrication skills, so it all got shelved. Then I found some links to places like Blue Collar Bobbers and Black Ops Bobbers, and it all got me thinking...

When I looked at this 10 years ago, there were two major issue to solve: how to attach the rear fender at the front end, and how to support the seat. Blue Collar and Black Ops seem to have solved those, but there were some things I wasn't happy with. Specifically, both the kits use a sort of 'stepped' tray to cover the battery box which I didn't like, and the Blue Collar one has holes in the top that let you see the battery posts. It rains a lot here, and I worked out some while ago that electrics and rain don't often play nicely. Black Ops seem to be (temporarily) out of production, and the other issue with the Blue Collar setup was that it requires you to saw off the inner rear fender mounts (the 'horns' that stick up and lean inwards from the top of the frame tube). That was a no-no for me, because I wanted the option of returning to stock. The only option, then was a bit of fabrication.

So, the starting point is to strip the back of the bike. At this point, I had already received the front and rear fenders from Blue Collar, a separate lay down side-mount bracket for the license plate, some lights and a seat (under £25 from China on Ebay). So, I measured, notched and bent a length of 30 x 30 x 3mm angle iron and drilled two 10mm holes to create a seat support. Incidentally, if you remove the mounting tab from the back of the stock seat and turn it around so it faces forwards (under the seat), and add some spacers, this will support the stock seat, but there is a caveat (see later):



Next job is to cover the battery tray. The kits all seem to use flat steel plates put together to give quite an angular look, but I decided to take a different approach. I cut several pieces of thin (0.8mm) aluminium sheet and forming it with a soft mallet around a 32mm (1¼") broom handle! That works perfectly because the frame tubes are 30mm. The various bits were clamped in place and taped together:



Now, don't get me wrong, if I could have got away with polished aluminium or stainless like that, I would have, but me welding skills aren't up to that, so this was just a form for the next bit, which was to lay a load of glass fibre over it.  Some of the 'missing' areas were simply covered over with multiple layers of duct tape. I put down four or five layers of CSM and let it set before offering up the seat:



The form was then removed and the whole thing covered in a thick layer of Plastic Padding before being sanded back. Rinse and repeat.


Now, at this point, I installed the rear fender for a test fit, and it was obvious that at full deflection the fender was going to hit the bottom of the seat mount, so it had to come off and get modified. This one wouldn't work with the stock seat, as it doesn't extend far enough back, though you could get around that, I'm sure. At the same time, I had to modify the back of the GRP seat moulding, but I took the opportunity to use a couple of mastic tubes to form recesses for the springs:



Once these had been removed and sanded, the seat goes like this:



There's a deal of work still to do: I need to fabricate a mounting plate for the license plate, the handlebars are being swapped to a set with more pullback, and I have some cute turn signals to modify. I had a slight concern that the only tail/stop light was low down and shielded by the rear wheel from the right, so I bought a set of combined LED orange turn/red running/red brake lights from Ebay. They are Chinese, made of plastic, and utterly horrible, but the lamp part will fit inside these with a bit of modification:



So far, the bike looks like this:



Last edited by Wiggo on Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:31 am

Ok, so slow progress. The new 40" beach bars arrived, I managed to retap the front left peg mount after my lad managed to shear off the old bolt and the battery cover is coming along slowly...



Now, I need to decide on where to mount the rear indicators. The options are a) on the rear fender strut:



or b) on the battery box cover:



Option b) has simpler wiring, as the harness is under the cover already. Personally, I prefer Option a) even though hiding the wiring will be a pain. What does the team think? Entertainingly, Blue Collar decided to make the fender struts asymmetrical so unless I attack the damn things with a vice and a big hammer, one light will be horizontal, and the other will stick up a slight angle. Grrrrrrrrr.


Last edited by Wiggo on Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:33 am

OK, mostly complete now (though there will be a million and one detailing jobs to do).

I rotated the rear fender forward to shorten it (a simple job that just needs the mounting bracket to be moved) and got a ton of lacquer on it, and I think it makes a huge difference to the look. I also removed the pullback risers and replaced them with a very low pair (about as low as I could go) and again it makes the bike look a bit more aggressive. The lights are all wired up - the cheap Chinese turn signals had 10W bulbs that made them flash too fast, and they were dangerously dim. New bulbs? No siree! The fitting was an odd one and new bulbs wouldn't fit. In the end, I cannibalized the old turn signals for their tiny 21W bulbs and holders. All the new wiring was heatshrinked and glued to the inside of the swingarm tubes before connecting up to the harness under the seat. The taillight was cheap chromed plastic thing, so that got stripped and painted black and looks a lot better for it, too.

The bike comes complete with matching black and white cat (he's called Dangerous Brian, btw). Here's a before and after:

Before:


After:

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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:34 am

Six weeks work later, and here she is. The forks have been painted black along with the hubs, spokes and brake rotor. I'm just waiting on the new tank graphics...



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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:39 am

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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:45 am

Looking great

How does she ride?
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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:52 am

Hmm, an interesting riding position compared to the way she was set up before - leaning forward very much more. Some friends commented that it looked like a great position to cause backache, but it's OK so far. I do need to adjust the gearshift and back brake levers a bit, though.

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simbo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:24 pm

Looks great! Love them bars  oyili
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hawktheslayer
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:24 pm

either your 6'6 or that's the tiniest intruder ive ever seen
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Wiggo
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PostSubject: Re: Just built me a bobber from a VL800   Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:09 pm

hawktheslayer wrote:
either your 6'6 or that's the tiniest intruder ive ever seen

Weird, innit? I'm 5'10" and here's my lad who's 6'1" on the thing.



And yet it looks small. Anyway, I've just discovered the Kuryakyn Inifinity Streamliner and I have to have one. Now!
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