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Old 01-20-2019, 12:06 PM
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Aligning the tail for the rear axle mounts

Hi everyone

I've formed the outline of a plan in my mind, and I thought I should check it out with some more experienced builders first. I don't know any chop builders in real life, so I thought I should ask here.

I have an old (1995) Japanese 4-inline-cylinder bike. I've had it for some time, and it has rather high mileage but it gets immaculately maintained. It also gets thrashed quite a bit. But I know that all of the specs are right, because I rebuilt the head, I do regular valve clearance shimming, I use nothing but the best motorcycle synthetic oil and change it frequently, etc. In short, in the garage the bike gets spoiled, and on the road it gets ridden very hard.

I know my way around this engine reasonably well. I know which parts wear out soonest, etc. The biggest issue with these reliable bikes is the fact of (new) parts unavailability. You just can't get new engine internals any more, anywhere. So I got myself a spare (used) engine, which I have yet to dissect and analyse.


1) 4-cylinder old Japanese bike with good engine, good clutch, good absolutely everything.
2) Spare engine for that bike, which most likely has a lot of good parts inside it.


To make an old-school hardtail chop, using everything I've got, with a completely refreshed engine that's good for another 100K miles.


Make a frame out of the existing frame and pieces of suitable steel pipe, which allows the standard rear wheel to slot in at just the right place. In other words, getting the back end all to line up.

Can get (if it turns out I need them)

New big-end bearings and new cam chain and new full gasket set and new individual gears (direct from Japan as these are standardised parts).

Can't get (will have to resort to picking whichever's better from the parts I already have)

New pistons, new piston rings, new cylinders, new head, new valves, new cam gears, new camshafts, etc. Most engine parts no longer available new.

Can do

Usual engine stuff: measuring, cylinder honing, valve lapping, head skimming, etc.
Cutting and welding steel pipe.


[See diagram]:

1) With bike on centrestand, weld (using a SMAW inverter-welder) one end of a piece of temporary pipe to the point along the swingarm just above the hole where the axle goes, and the other end to the subframe.
2) Do the same as (1) on the other side.
3) Remove swingarm spindle. The swingarm stays in place because it's welded there.
4) Take an angle grinder to the swingarm, cutting all of it off, leaving just the ends
where the axle goes suspended up there from the subframe. The remainder of the swingarm with its end sawn off should drop out.
5) Disconnect the shock, etc.
5) Weld the actual final rear frame pieces.This means cutting appropriate sections of steel pipe and welding from the axle mounts (which used to be parts of the swingarm) suspended in space to 2 places on the frame, completing the classic hardtail chop look.
6) Cut off the subframe.
7) Cut off the temporary pipe.
8) Complete (subject to checking for integrity/strength by a qualified engineer (not me).

What do you guys think? Is this a good or a silly way to ensure the existing wheel, chain, etc. will line up? Thanks in advance.
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