Tag Archives: bike

Emblem & Badge Refurbishment

Author’s Note; Emblem & Badge Refurbishment originally appeared in the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle magazine earlier in 2017.

There are quite a few different methods you can use to restore motorcycle emblems that have paint that needs refinishing. You can repaint them by hand using small artist’s brushes. I have even spray painted tank badges using a solvent soaked rag on a sanding block to remove the paint from the high points of the lettering after spraying on the paint. Of course masking off the different colored areas was a pain.

Recently I learned of a much easier way to quickly and inexpensively refresh your tired looking motorcycle emblems & badges. To give credit where credit is due, I learned of this technique in a post to the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club’s Facebook page by Toby Jones in which he spoke of using paint markers from a welding supply house and posted a couple of examples that looked really good. I’d like to say thank you Toby for sharing.

For this article I’m using the front cover badge of my C70 Passport as a Guinea pig to try this technique. The chrome on this part stilled looked good, but the long exposure to the elements had resulted in the paint flaking out of the lettering and accent lines.

C70 badges before
C70 badges before


Start by gathering up your supplies, you’ll need oil paint markers, a couple of shop towels, and little bit of odorless paint thinner. For this job I used artist paint markers but you can also get them from welding supply houses. My reason for using odorless paint thinner is that I did this in the house but if you’re working outside you can use whatever paint thinner you have.

emblem & badge refurbishment
Good old Sharpie oil paint markers!


Open up the marker and color in the areas that need paint just as if you were a kid playing with a coloring book. Have a shop towel handy with a small amount of thinner on it, not soaking wet, and every minute or so stop and wipe off any paint that has stuck to the chrome outside of the lettering.  Be sure to wipe frequently because it will make the paint harder to remove from the wrong places if you let it dry.

When completed, let it dry, and them wipe over the whole thing with a clean shop rag and reinstall it on your bike and enjoy the vast improvement in its looks.

After emblem & badge refurbishment
After emblem & badge refurbishment

The GTC Torque Converter for Minibikes & Go Karts Installation and Review

Here’s what came in the box. I ordered it from GoKarts USA mainly because it was listed as being a direct bolt on fit to directly replace the cheesy jackshaft plate & tensioner that this minibike came with. Despite what is said on some of the forums around the internet, this is a good quality unit that is made right here in the good old U.S.A. Yeah sure it’s got a couple of imported components in it, but suck it up sunshine that’s just the way the world is, we’re all on one rapidly shrinking planet and the market place is making it smaller everyday despite the best attempts by idiot politicians and knuckle dragging nationalists to stop it. Still it’s nice to see something made here that is of good quality and is price competitive. The backing plate is especially well machined & finished to the point that it is almost a shame to cover it up with a belt guard.

<contents of the GTC kit box>

Now this is not going to be a full complete step by step set of installation instructions, just an overview with a few tips. If have lost your kit instructions or have purchased a second hand unit without instructions please click here to get a set from the GTC website.  As always you may click on any picture here for a larger view.

First you have to remove the original plate with the factory clutch & intermediate sprocket.

<Baja MB165 jackshaft chain tensioner>

Make sure you remove all of the spacers from the end of the crankshaft, if you are doing this to an older engine oxidation may cause the spacer to look like an integral part of the crankshaft. If you don’t remove it the drive pulley won’t line up and you’ll be scratching your head for a few minutes like I was.

<baja minibike crankshaft spacer>

This tab is no longer used and will have to be flattened or removed for the torque converter to fit.

<remove this tab>

The kit comes with longer bolts to mount the plate if needed.

<GTC kit bolt>

This particular installation just reused the stock bolts

<GTC mounting plate on Baja minibike>

A picture of the driven shaft with the snap ring and washer installed.

<driven pulley shaft GTC torque converter>

Here it has been started through back of the mounting plate.

<installing the driven shaft>

Next get the chain sprocket, key & spacer,

sprocket,spacer, & key

and slide them onto the driven shaft as shown here.

<This is what drives the rear wheel>

The next shot shows the driven pulley with it’s associated hardware, slide it all into place and install the nut finger tight at this time.

<GTC driven pulley>

Here is the driving pulley & the belt. When you cut the tie wrap to install it take not of how the various parts & pieces fit together so you can re-install them correctly.

<torque converter drive pulley & belt>

I should have cleaned up the screw threads in this hole before I got this far, be sure to learn from my mistakes. BTW your engine must have an existing tapped hole in he end of the crankshaft or you cannot install a torque convertor. Be sure to check this before you spend your money as a few of the Honda clone engines are missing this feature.

<baja minibike tapped crankshaft>

The other drive pulley parts

<gtc drive pulley parts>

Stick the belt into place & begin assembling the drive pulley onto the end of the crankshaft.


<drive pulley parts on crankshaft>

Now that you’ve gotten everything assembled it is time to tighten it all down.

<GTC torque converter Baja minibike>

You really need to use a torque wrench and tighten the bolts & nuts to the torque specified in the instructions. Even a cheap one is more than good enough for everything the average home mechanic will ever do. If you over tighten the nut on the driven shaft it will pop the snap ring loose from the other side. Sure GTC could redesign the shaft to eliminate the snap ring but are you prepared to pay an additional 20 or 30 dollars for the kit to cover the cost of the additional machining and wasted material? Just use a torque wrench and you won’t have to worry about it.

<use a torque wrench dammit>

I did this install several months ago and have been driving this thing around the farm at least two or three times a week. While it did not transform my otherwise nearly stock MB165 into a 50 mph speed demon it did bump the top speed up enough to be much faster than a stock Baja minibike. Perhaps on a smooth surface with the governor removed it would but it is already able to outrun it’s own steering and stability out here in the deep soft sand & mud where I live.

<Baja heat warrior torque converter>

Four months ago when I installed this it was purely out of curiosity to see if it would really be an improvement, and it really is. The initial low speed engagement is much smoother than with a factory clutch allowing it to be driven at a lower speed than was possible with the clutch, while still increasing the top speed. The belt has proven durable and still looks fine after four months of hauling my big 200+ pound ass around the farm, down the dirt road, through the woods.  And when it does eventually wear out the belt is a little over half the price of a factory clutch. So is this worth spending the extra $200 buck on? If you are serious about actually riding your minibike, the answer is yes especially since the GTC TC2 is a direct bolt on that does not require engine mounting spacers to fit a stock Baja frame. Granted at this price it should come with the plastic belt guard but that really is my only complaint. At this time I’m running mine without the guard for a cool but possibly dangerous open primary look, but I don’t let kids ride it either.

Here’s a little video of the completed minibike so you can see how it works.

Peace Y’all


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The Fool Tank Chronicles Part 1

Some of us just have to do things the hard way, it’s in our blood and it will not be denied. Take me for example, while by no means wealthy in money I could probably buy any new motorcycle I wanted just sign the dotted line & add another automatic draft to my checking account & ride. But even the new retro bikes don’t have the pull on my soul that the old ones do, they aren’t part of my memories, & they don’t need my love to get back on the road. I don’t know about you, but for me the turning of the wrenches, watching dial gauges & degree wheels, the smell of parts washer fluid & the massaging & painting of old sheet metal bring me just as much pleasure a actually riding the finished product. When I finish one project, or sometimes even before I am constantly scanning Craigslist, Ebay, the local trader papers, & the internet message boards to find the next one.

Sometimes I do very irrational things that create far too much work for myself even by my own masochistic, self flagellating standards. This is the story of how I modified & then destroyed a fuel tank for my CB650 Scrambler project, & then had to fix another one.

Let’s start from the beginning, first there was my junk auction CB650C with this very holey tank.

<original CB650C tank>

As you can see there wasn’t much point in trying to fix that one so I used it for target practice & threw it away. Initially my plan was to turn this bike into a shiny polished cafe racer style custom with a big ’70s tank & some clip-ons, so I ordered up a 1974 CB750 tank from Ebay & set it on the bike just to see how it would look. Of course it wouldn’t work with the stock seat so I broke out the sawzall & cut 2 inches from the front of the seat. At this point I was still planning to cut the rear sub-frame off & put in a tail loop to support a proper cafe racer seat with a bum stop, because I had the Ninja for me & Mrs. Psyco to ride around on two up. Here’s a shot of the initial mock up.

<old 750 tank mockup>
old 750 tank mockup

By the time the above picture was taken fate had intervened in two distinctive ways. First we’ve had one of the wettest, nastiest, stormiest, summers on record. The dirt road that I use to get from my hole down in the swamp out to civilization, has been an almost constant quagmire because we have not been without rain long enough for it to dry completely up. This is not an environment conducive to the cafe racer style of motorcycle as your only bike. The second factor was the sale of the Minimum Ninja, I really wasn’t crazy about selling it, but the gentlemen who bought it from me was like a kid going, “please Santa, I’ll take great care of it I promise,” so I finally gave in & let him have it. To his credit he does keep it much cleaner than I ever did. But now I had to get something rolling & fast, preferably something with two up capacity that would roll down a dirt or gravel road just as good as a paved one. Decide to do a flat green rat bike that require minimum cleaning.

I had already made a new rear tank mount at this time by bending the CB750 mount down & brazing in a sheet metal angle the the proper size hole in it.

cb750 to cb650 rear tank mount clamped
cb750 to cb650 rear tank mount clamped
<cb750 to 650 tank brazed>
My ugly brazing

The problem was that at the time I paid no attention the the seat to tank relation, something that would come back to haunt me later. After I changed my mind about the direction of this project but before really fitting everything together I decided to go ahead & change the color, but since I was doing a “rat bike” style build not to fix any dents or chips & just spray can paint it.

<tank number 1 taped up>
tank number 1 taped up

So I taped off the graphics & cap being careful to trim the tape around the nicks and chips hoping that it would look like the new color was original & spray bombed it with what I thought was a flat dark olive color

<tank after painting>
much lighter than I was expecting:(

About this time, I purchased a “skull pile” stencil from Airsick Stencils & decided to play around with it some, so I popped the tank off & taped it up following the instructions on the Airsick website for using these reversed stencils they sell, & sprayed my main color Createx Wicked Gold.

<airbrushing a gas tank>
This color required a lot more thinner than the other Createx colors I’ve used in the past

After spraying the color I then put the stencil back in place and turned my air pressure down a little bit and sprayed in some opaque black to create the details.

airsick airbrush skullies
laying in the skulls

Here’s what it looks like when you take the stencil off.

<an airbrushed skull pile>

Just In case you were wanting to know the airbrush is a Paasche VL & yes I am very happy with it.

<my Paasche VL airbrush>

After finishing up and giving the paint a few minutes to set up I peeled the tape off.

<peeling back the mask>
peeling back the mask

If you try this at home just remember that most commercially available airbrush paints are designed for fabric use & require heat to set them and make them permanent, so go over the surface with a hair dryer or hot air gun & get it good and warm if you don’t want your paint washing off later.

Most people go back over these skull piles & fill in little details with the airbrush & some freehand stencils. Me I cheated a little bit by doing my detail work with a black extra fine point Sharpie, before spraying on the clear coat.

<closeup of airbrushed skulls>

It looked decent enough for a rat bike I thought

<airbrushed tank on cb650 scrambler>
airbrushed tank on cb650 scrambler

It’s kind of a shame that I destroyed this tank while  attempting to correct the big gap between the bottom of the tank & the top of the seat. Oh well if you’re gonna cook an omelet you gotta break a few eggs. I’ll come back in a day or three and tell you the rest of the story.

A Custom Battery Tray & Other Stuff

Just thought I’d do a quick update on some of the things that I have done with my CB650 project. I have been working on it a little at the time between my normal day job, a few bikes & atv’s for other people, & some painting (airbrush practice & landscape oil painting). Since I’ve decided to go with the “rat suburban assault scrambler” look some of the things about this project have gotten easier, but other design ideas require just a little more ingenuity. Rather than sawing off the back half of the frame & welding in a new seat loop as required to get the proper cafe racer look I am opting for a modified stock seat with a 74 CB750 tank, but I still wanted to eliminate the stock side panels. My plan now is to replace the side covers with 2 pieces cut from some rusty old expanded metal sheet I have lying around. To do that I still needed to modify the mounts for the electrics, and since I will be using a Shorai lithium battery that is much smaller than stock, a custom battery tray was in order also. Since this is a rat I decided to do this with nothing but materials I already had on hand. After sitting down & staring at it a while with my note book, pencil & ruler in my hand I came up with a basic design that tucks everything up high, bolts into the stock mounts, & allows me to reuse the inner fender to protect the electronics. Here’s how it goes…

First I removed the stock battery tray, along with the airbox & some other now useless items. Then I drilled out all of the spot welds holding the mounts, & various brackets to it.

butchering a Honda CB650 battery box
butchering a Honda CB650 battery box

In the spirit of my deep back country roots I decided to make do with the stuff I had on hand & not buy any new stuff to make this from, so this left over shelf divider that was destined for the scrap bin will get to live on as a motorcycle part. Here it is with all of the brackets & mounts salvaged from the original battery box.

custom built motorcycle parts
a custom battery & electronics tray in kit form 😉

Then using my band saw I cut the tray to shape & bent it in a vise.

<custom motorcycle battery tray blank>

Then I bolted the stock mounts back into place using the original hardware & clamped the tray in between them. Since I do not have a tig box for my welder (YET) I simply use a 1/16″ 6013 rod to tack the pieces together without burning through the sheet metal too much.

tack welding battery box
tack welding battery box

After I got it tacked together with the stick welder I took it out and flipped it over & then brazed it securely together with the oxy-acetelyne torch. Then I laid out the various components such as the rectifier, turn signal flasher & etc & then brazed those mounts to the bottom of the plate.

custom rat motorcycle electronics mount
custom rat motorcycle electronics mount

I know it looks awful, but I might just leave it that way, this is a rat after all. I will have to sort & secure all the wiring though, because neatly sorted wiring is easier to trouble shoot in the future & is less likely to develop problems that need trouble shooting.

Here’s a view from the top side showing the Shorai battery lying on it’s side. I still need to make a plastic box to keep the battery from sliding around. Since my day job is doing design work using Solidworks, I may just draw one up & have it printed out using a 3d printer. If not I’ll form one out of ABS sheet.

<Honda CB650 battery box Shorai LFX>
fits just right!

I can’t say enough good things about these batteries, they’re light, powerful & durable. I’ve installed them in a couple of customer bikes, this one, and even have one in my lawn mower! Sure the cost a little more than the lead acid batteries, but are in my opinion a threefold improvement in all areas. I do sell these & would be happy to quote you one if you contact me.

Here a couple of other items that have been added, first an Ebay find of a 74 Honda CB750 fuel tank. This fit with modified rubbers & a custom rear mount. I’ll show you some more details later after I have it all worked out with the seat fitment. but I think it looks really good on here!

Honda CB650 with CB750 tank
Honda CB650 with CB750 tank

Another Ebay purchase is this 1970 Honda CL450 Scrambler. I bought the whole bike just to get the handlebars!

1970 Honda CL450
1970 Honda CL450

It’s pretty much seized up and there’s no paper work but the handlebars gave me exactly the look I wanted for my project. Good solid bars with just enough crust to blend in. No need to treat a new set of bars to a faux patina.

1970 CL450 handlebar on 80 CB650
1970 CL450 handlebar on 80 CB650

The CL450 will be parted, I plan to keep the frame, engine, carbs, gauges, charging system, fork & wheels. All of the sheetmetal and the exhaust are up for grabs to my fellow hobbyists who want them. The fuel tank is rusty bondoed junk but everything else is decent. Contact me using the form below.

I had a few other adventures including dealing with a stuck oil filter bolt that I’ll go over with you soon including how far I had to go to get it out.

Peace Y’all

Another Junkyard Dog from the Bicycling World!

Hey I had a bike just like this as a kid, well almost.. mine was a Murray and didn’t have the awesome rat trap springer fork, or the motorcycle muffler chainguard but at least it had the same frame. 😉

a seriously vintage bmx bike! a Free Spirit MX-1

I am planning to restore this one one day but for now it will continue to reside in a place of honor hanging from the rafters of my shop. Thanks to my buddy Kevin for keeping this unusual vintage bicycle out of the shredder for future generations to enjoy.

Peace Y’all

Dirt Bike Carburetor 101 Part 1 (how to clean a single cylinder motorcycle or atv carb)

Hello everyone and welcome to this multi-part lesson on the basics of carburetor  cleaning for single cylinder motorcycles. The cadaver we will be resuscitating in this lab is an 02 Honda XR100.

“barn fresh” xr100

Believe it or not this bike would still run with the choke on even with the dead gas and clogged jets, gotta love a Honda! This will be a general step by step guide to repairing carbs, so I will not be giving you the actual specifications as they vary so much from year to year on some bikes. As I’ve said before you need to obtain the specific information for your exact bike from a reputable source like say xr or crf 100 service manuals“. For this first post let me show you how to remove the carburetor from this bike.

First let me say that it is possible to pull the carb from an XR100 without removing the bodywork, but A; you need to clean or replace the air filter and B; if it’s been sitting long enough to need the carburetor cleaned you need dispose of any fuel in the tank and clean it out before re-starting the bike after you finish the carb.

Now take off the side covers. This picture shows the location of the air filter cover on the XR100

Next look under the rear fender and remove the 2 nuts holding the seat on. Then pull it up and rearward to remove it.

I like to put the nuts and any spacers back on the studs like this so they will not get lost. In fact whenever possible I do this for all nuts and bolts as it keeps them from disappearing.

Now go the the fuel switch, valve or petcock, whichever terminology you use for it and turn off the flow of gas to the carburetor and disconnect the fuel line. Be prepared to cut it off with a knife and replace it if necessary.

Remove the rubber strap that holds down on the rear of the fuel tank and the two bolts at the front of the tank.

It is not required that you remove the shrouds like I did for this photo, I simply removed them so that I could show you the location of the bolts at the front of the gas tank.

After setting the gas tank aside in a safe location it is time to disconnect the throttle cable. On some models it attaches to an arm on the side of the carb but on simpler ones like this it is attached directly to the carb slide. Unscrew the cap as indicated by the screwdriver and pull the slide out.

This next shot is a little fuzzy but it indicates how the throttle cable is retained in the slide, and the following picture shows the slot in the side of the slide that allows you to remove it from the cable.

Now all you have to do is to compress the spring and push the end of the cable out of its hole, past the end of the slide, pull it out through the slot and then through the big hole at the top.

Here’s the removed and disassembled slide, jet needle, and return spring laid out for you to see.

Loosen the clamp holding the rubber hose from the air box to the carb and then remove the bolts attaching it to the engine and pull it out.

Yes I’m using the obstruction wrenches again. Two tools that I feel are must haves for any serious cycle mechanic are obstruction wrenches of decent quality and some extra long screwdrivers of the finest quality money can buy (i.e. Snap On etc.) Inexpensive wrenches are often okay but cheap screwdrivers will drive you bleeping crazy, by stripping out the soft metal heads on Japanese motorcycle screws.

Here’s a shot of the carburetor on the workbench. I like to use the red toolbox tray shown to help me organize the parts as I disassemble the carb, and to keep the parts from disappearing into the wormhole that exists behind my workbench. No part that falls back there is ever seen again, so I try to keep them from rolling of of the back edge. No dear reader I am not going to move the bench to look for them either. In my shop I coexist peacefully with all matter of snakes and spiders both harmless and venomous, and that is their territory and I stay out of it.

Don’t’ forget to protect the engine by plugging the intake hole while the carburetor is off.

I’ll show you the rest later, don’t forget to bookmark this page or to sign up for the email notification of updates on the bottom of this page. Click here for part two!

Peace Y’all

The Underground Velo Forums June Website of the month!

Are you like me? Do you like wild ass custom bicycles, seriously dangerous hotrods, pretty girls, wicked Kustom motorcycles, and the best of true outsider art! This place has everything the artistic gearhead could want rolled up into one barely legal (according to the fine folks at proboards) package! This site is kinda edgy and not for the real young’uns (there are some bikini type pin ups) but for anybody above puberty it would be a shame not to see some of the sights on this site.

Click here to visit the Underground!

Even if you do not care about bicycles,motorcycles,cars, or women, (whats wrong with you?) The art section of this forum is worth seeing especially the

Urban Decay Thread Go check it out right now I’ll wait for you and I promise you won’t regret it.

There is something for every bicycling taste, freak bikes, tall bikes, rat rods, gravity racers, choppers, and even fixies!

GO CHECK IT OUT an tell’em Motopsyco sent you.