Crashed CBR brough back to life – MuTilATeD
Latest Post to the Build:
Just got some awesome D616 Dunlop‘s fitted to my CBR – Oh yes!! Now it looks even meaner
Its alive, its on the streets and you’ll most certainly hear it before you see it.
This badass CBR is’s called Dionysus ‘ Διόνυσος – Greek God of Ritial Madness and Ecstatic behavior, who also liked a drop of wine or seven.
Full Story and Photos below:
A few times I’ve tried to get it road worthy again after buying an engine from a local salvage yard and getting the lads at Metric Method to switch the lumps and fire it back into life, but I’ve failed to get it any further myself.
Well by some stroke of luck my buddy Roland Sands has agreed to help me finally go the whole hog and get it ripping again, this time it ain’t just going to be a re-build, it’s going to be a Roland Sands Designed sick motorcycle and I’m going to be doing the work!!
Holy crap Batman, with me behind the wrenches it’s highly likely to fall apart but wow what a chance to turn this sorry looking dusty motorcycle into something totally unique and individual.
My aim is to make it mean, loud and lots of fun – a cross between a Flat-Track, SuperMoto & a Supersport machine…while thinking Mad Max – Roland, on the other hand, may have other ideas.
Anyway, the build starts today, I’ve already pulled off all the bodywork and will be taking the CBR over to RSD’s wonderful workshop this afternoon and I’ll be trying to keep the build costs down as much as p0$$ible!
DAY 1: An email from Roland a few days before gave me clear instructions, basically strip off all the fairing, tail-section, plastics etc and bring it over, so I did just that. The poor and neglected CBR600RR was looking very sorry for its self in my garage as it was getting buried underneath an every increasing layer of dust, a bunch of its own crashed parts and 2 pool floaties.
After I’d dug it out and got it on the bench there wasn’t all the much work to do as I’d ripped the tail section off in my crash and the fairing was already stripped off. I did however removed the top fairing but left the air-intake and clocks. At the rear I just stripped it back to the sub frame, it was fairly easy and caused me no trouble. Soon the very naked CBR600RR was in the back of my van and on it’s way to Roland Sands Design and I was getting excited.
It turns out that my excitement would have to wait a few hours later than originally arranged due to the Pussy Wagon breaking down 3 times on the way to his shop. The first few times I managed to get it going again, then it died for good. The 3rd breakdown was less that 5 miles from the RSD HQ, so I called Roland and asked if he could come and tow me in, at least I’d be at RSD and could start work on the CBR.
Like a good fellow, he did just that and in no time I had Roland and Rodney at the side of the road with me. Rodney shook his head at me once again and said “So what’s up with it? What’s it doing?”, I then spluttered a load of words and tried my best to describe what has been happening and doing impressions of the pops and Kangaroo jumps I’d been doing down the road.”OK, fire it up, let’s hear it” said Rodney. I said “It won’t go, but I’ll turn it over anyway” and turned the well worn ’75 van key.
Like a well maintained and reliable vehicle my van somehow sprung into life and as I gassed it hard the powerful V8 climbed the revs and sounded awesome, no problems at all. Of course I was happy it was going again but felt like a total d*ck as Roland and Rodney were looking at me with that WTF look.
First to go was the front air-intake, soon followed by the rear sub-frame, I was starting to feel a little apprehensive about what I was seeing, Roland and his team were starting to get excited, I felt that was a bad sign.
Before cutting it up or taking it further Roland went into his office large stylish office and started putting his skilled hands on paper, with-in an hour I had 2 concepts in my hands and we were both in favor of the minimal Mad Max looking CBR.
It was already getting late, RSD was closing down for the night but before he left to go home, Roland couldn’t help himself and cut up the sub-frame. Now the re-build had gone past a point of no return, it was now never going to be a standard CBR600RR again.
And as RSD closed up and everyone went home for the night Charlie and I jumped in my van and hoped for a hassle free journey home. Instead we got pops and splutters, black smoke and a distinct smell of fuel, my van was not well. After talking to it, making mini prayers, all while wearing the battery down with each failed starting attempt, I finally admitted defeat and called the Missus for a ride home.
It had been quite a day, thrilled to finally get the CBR to a point of no return and I now have total belief that it will be recreated and I’ll hopefully soon be riding it again, and then despair at my van, unfortunately this time it’s going to take some professionals to nurse the Pussy Wagon back into life, I pray soon and for the right price.
Right now Charlie and I are trying to keep warm in the dark van, Charlie’s thoughts are of warm-doggy-dinner while my head is full of ‘Project CBR’ and I’m already excited about coming back to RSD tomorrow and doing more to the project….if I don’t get picked up soon I’ll be camping outside…
Day 2: Yes I did get home but it was late and didn’t didn’t seem long before I was back at RSD HQ, this time it was Saturday lunch-time and the place was very quiet. This time I turned up with some of the parts I’d stripped off, like the tank cover and seat plus a few stunt parts that would transform the riding position.
The boys at Freestyle Ingenuity make crashing a motorbike look easy and affordable, their cages and risers transform any Supersport machine into an indestructible stunt machine in just a few easy to install items, I got hold of some of their instant risers which work on your stock triple-clamps, too easy.
Well it sounds it, but lining them up, marking it out (thanks Roland!) and then working out where your holes are going and then having the balls to stick by your doubtful hole punched marks and drill through your own triple-clamp isn’t that easy, Anyway. I did just that and once you have 4 holes in your tripe-clamp it’s a bit to late to worry and I just hoped the risers would line up and all would be OK.
One side was perfect, the other side was about 1mm out so Roland milled it out Ghetto-Style and soon my handle-bar position had gone from clip-ons to up-right in one move. Roland then started to look through his spare handle-bar collection and found some sweet flat-track style bars which just looked awesome and I could instantly see the design sketch and my CBR coming closer together.
Roland went back and forth, placing parts on the CBR600RR and then taking them off again before deciding on keeping the tank cover on the CBR , so it looks like I’ll be slightly modifying that before adding some paint and he even liked the standard riding seat, so I’ll be working with that and changing it up a bit.
I’m very happy to be keeping so many great parts of the CBR, parts that really work for me as a rider, like the chassis, the wheel base, seating and foot peg position, gas tank size and feel etc, the ergonomics of the CBR work for me and I am super happy although the machine is going to look very different, it still feels like a CBR.
During the rest of the day I started to take off even more protective rubbers and bits of plastic from the bike and seeing the sketch and real thing come closer together while Roland worked on his old Championship winning TZ250, the poor thing had once been immaculate but was now beat-up and was being turned back into an immaculate state once again, this time by the racer himself.
It was a good day of getting my hands dirty, ‘Project Budget CBR’ is looking good and once home I slept like a baby and dreamed of motorbikes again…zzz
Day 3: Today I first popped into my local motorcycle dealer Long Beach Motorsports to buy a battery for my CBR as the original one gave up a long time ago while being stood for so long in my garage. Instead of getting the big, heavy original one I went for a smaller/lighter battery that gave out the same power.
It was a smart purchase as now I can make area where the battery goes much smaller and this will also help me create a clean shape and much more compact sub-frame.
After Long Beach Motorsports it was then onto Metal Depot where Roland said I’d be able to buy all the metal I wanted and he wasn’t joking, this place had stacks and stacks of metal, all different sizes, shapes and grades. My job was to get some sheets of Aluminium (Aluminum) so I picked up 2 x 2ft sq sheets of 1.25mm and 0.95mm for the making of the brackets, mounts and other stuff.
Once back at RSD it was all about making templates out of card and then getting them the correct size/shape before transferring the shape to the sheets of aluminum. Once I had the template drawn on the alloy it was then a case of roughly cutting it out on a band-saw and then getting it closer and closer to the correct shape on the belt sander.
This whole process might sound easy but it was a bit more difficult than I expected, I’m not sure if it was difficult or it’s just because I’ve never done it before but after taking mm off at a time in the sander, going back to the bike, trying to make it fit, marking it where it doesn’t etc etc I finally made a sub-frame under plate, many hours after I’d started.
In a way taking my time definitely helped as the plate did fit well and gave me confidence to make other plates and brackets. The down side was it took me most part of the day so I was hardly making rapid progress. However I did go on to make a battery box and a rev-counter/clock bracket but the battery box was a bit wonky and I cut too much off the clock bracket so I’ll have to make another one of those another day.
The original exhaust is very heavy, quiet and ugly so I brought it along today to see if it could be modified in anyway, after a few discussion on what could be done from the guys at RSD, the silencer was chopped off and the rest of the pipe now comes out of the side. It looks awesome but also looks like it has the ability to make your ears bleed so we’ll see if that stays or goes later.
Towards the later part of the day I took off the tank, air-box etc as I want to re-locate some of the wiring harness and in doing so I just loved being able to see the steering damper and carbs…It made me think of exposing it somehow as I love being able to see mechanical/moving parts on a bike.
Now there isn’t a fairing on the bike I need to cleverly hide some of the wiring and plugs as modern bikes seem to have wires going everywhere and they look ugly and untidy.
Well, the CBR project is on and going in the right direction, it’s a bit slow but that’s because of me and my skill level… but I am so stoked that I am finally working on my own custom build, doing many things I’ve never done before and learning loads about my bike.
It’s also be invaluable to start this project at RSD and be able to turn and ask Roland, Rodney or Aaron if I should do this or how do I do that…It wasn’t supposed to be this way but as the Pussy Wagon broke down, my bike has been stranded and that gave me the chance to get a jump start on getting more advise as well as a few tricky things done. Anyway, my van is now ready for the road again (big cheers from all at RSD who will be glad to see me go!) and I’ll soon be cutting the RSD cord and taking my CBR home to continue the project.
Week 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….
Taking the CBR home and trying to do things without previous knowledge or experience slowed the CBR project up tremendously, I found myself doing more head scratching, pondering and doing things wrong than going forward.
It was only when I was totally by myself I realized how useless I really am at working on motorbikes, soon the bike wouldn’t start and yes, I had no idea why… So I took it down to Metric Method and they had the engine running in less than 10mins which just goes to show you what real mechanics can do…
Anyway, while at home I did manage to get rid of the heavy steering lock/key and replace it with a small switch, I hate keys and are forever losing them so now I’m better off, I did the same for the Off/Run switch as well. Now I have much less bulk and 2 tidy switches, making the bike a bit lighter while also losing some clutter.
It was the 1st time I had ever had to solder wires, connectors etc so after watching a YouTube tutorial on how to do it, I had a go and to my surprise everything turned out OK.
Finally when Roland had some room at the RSD HQ, (this week) I was back to cut out a load of brackets and start mounting things where I need them. It was so good to be back around people I could ask…”Errm how do I do this?? Shall I do that?? and even though I’ve spent the last 2 days only cutting and grinding brackets, its great to go forward and not around in circles like I had been doing.
As I left the workshop last night the rev counter was now now in place and the # plate had a cut out for one of the lights, there is still loads of work to do but its getting there…slowly…
The next morning the CBR was sat in a pool of fork oil due to a leaky seal, not the best start. In no time I was getting stuck into cutting out the 2nd headlight hole and then working out a way of fixing the lights to the # plate and fixing all of that to the bike.
I know all of this sounds easy, and yes, it probably is but I’m a novice at this kind of thing and none of it seems to come easy. I’m also slow, mainly because I want it to be right and to fully understand everything I’m doing, the few things I’ve rushed have ended being a disaster and sending me backwards 2 steps, so I’m careful to avoid those if possible.
To help avoid those kind of things I luckily had my friend Martin (from Warrs in London) staying at mine for a few days and to earn his keep I bought him along to help. Wow what a result, not only was Martin getting on with figuring out the electrical bits (I have no idea about anything electrical apart from changing a plug) he also threaded parts and took a few shots along the way, just perfect!
Lots was going on around me, bikes, fabrication, a rat bag of a Goldwing being delivered to Rodney – the hectic RSD operation is constant motorbikes, motorbikes, motorbikes, as much as I love that! – I was definitely getting in the way.
But it was smiles at the end of the day as the CBR project had working lights, # plate brackets made and now I can move onto the tank cover and rear end.
Roland jumped onboard and said “This thing is going to be FUN!” he just loves the new riding position and how light it feels, and the big grin on his face was enough for me to know that I’m on the right track.
We are making progress….
Now that the front # plate/light set up was all in place I turned my attention to the tank cover. Initially the plan was to toss the cover and run a bare tank, but Roland liked the bike better with the cover on as the bare tank is kinda ugly, with some simple trimming the cover cleaned up all the unsightly bits.
The std CBR rear brake light, turn signal set up is bulky so I’ve integrated the whole thing into one light from Clear Alternatives and then I cut it up some more, made it even smaller and now it’s bare and exposed in every way. I’ve a small place planned for it to go under the seat so it keeps the back end as short as possible.
Before the day was done Roland came down to look at the progress and then picked up a grinder and went to town on roughing up my CBR in every way possible. It stared out as a small grind up on my radiator so that it matched the big scrape I’d put in the frame from my crash. But it would seem as though Roland really enjoyed roughing up someone else’s machine because as soon as that was done, he quickly moved onto the brake calipers, rims, engine cover and even the swingarm!
By the end of Roland’s grinding frenzy my CBR looked like a bike out of a Mad Max movie and looks a million miles away from the gleaming Supersport bike that it once was.
That’s perfect for me, I don’t like clean new things anyway, this CBR was becoming my perfect machine…
After chopping up the tail section of the exhaust system and dismantling the exhaust valve cables, I now had an unwanted and free spinning valve in the bottom of the exhaust system which needed to be removed.
This had been a job I’d been putting off for a while but its no problem now as I’ve Martin on my team and I’m at RSD, in no time Martin had my CBR outside in the morning sun and the exhaust system was off in no time. We did try are few different ways to get the valve out of the exhaust system but to no avail, the only option left was to cut it up.
I wasn’t sure how possible this was going to be, it seemed like a big deal to me, cutting it up and welding it back together but Aaron assured me that it was no biggie and to mark a few lines on the system and then I used the band saw to cut it up.
The welds and bolts were a bit tougher than expected and after wearing all the teeth off the band saw blade, Aaron handed me the angle grinder with an annoyed face. Not only was I getting in the way, but now I was F***ing the workshop up, not great. Anyway, the angle grinder did the trick and the lose valve was finally out, all that was left to do was clean up the surface around the welding area and hand everything to Aaron.
There was a lot of welding to do, the list of brackets and plates had been mounting up and now it was finally time to bring all of those pieces together and take the build to the next level. It seemed like a big deal to me, welding this and that, here and there but Aaron made light work of my list of jobs and had everything done at an incredible rate. I love seeing beautiful workmanship – welding is art as well as a function and thanks to Aaron my bike was being skillfully worked on and the welds were perfect.
Soon the bike was being assembled and I got a better understanding to what we’d done and where all the time had gone, it hadn’t been easy getting this far and there was still a fair way to go.
As soon as Roland saw my bike coming together he was focused on kicking me out of the door and getting rid of me and all my mess the second I was done. Even though he told me where to go in a short and rather direct way, I didn’t care, it had all been worth it as my gorgeous CBR600RR custom project was a step closer to reality and I couldn’t help but feel overjoyed.
Now back at my place I’m focused on keeping the project rolling forward not backwards, not easy as Martin’s visit is now over and the only other person in my house that seems happy getting his hands dirty in the garage is Giacomo and he hasn’t started talking yet….
Fitting the upright bars to the sporty CBR now meant that the standard brake lines were too short and now I needed longer ones so i called my man Sandro at Galfer to see if he could help and I was told to bring the bike up to HQ for a fitment. Awesome! now I get new slick brakes lines and an expert to bleed my brakes, phew! that was a job I wasn’t looking forward to tackling.
At Galfer, brake expert Robert went straight to work and had new lines fitted in no time, he also fitted a new Accossato master cylinder and lever as I’d damaged the other one in the crash and it wasn’t worth taking any chances. It was a good thing, the Accossato system is beautiful, Italian engineering at its best, developed on the race tracks so the system is compact and feels amazing when I apply the brake.
Adding to its functions are a full adjustable lever which also has a crash pivot which bends up incase you drop your bike, very slick.
While I was there I picked up a brake line for the rear brake also, it keeps everything looking the same and gives me the same feel but the down side is that I have to bleed that line myself….
Wow, thanks to Galfer I’ve now made the already brilliant CBR brakes system even better, Now I’ve a cool master cylinder and lever, slim and lighter bradded lines, and when I think about all that weight I’ve already taken off this machine, this thing should stop in a nanosecond – man I can’t wait to ride this!
* Photo’s marked with * or just the good one’s – Taken by the very talented Kevin Warren at Digital Press Images – Who was in town and came with me to visit the awesome RSD Workshop