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The "Problem Child"

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  • The "Problem Child"

    So full Disclosure, I have a number of Katana frames/bikes but only one is titled in my name and registered. Unfortunately, that one is a bent frame that was supposed to be Mary Jane.( My first Katana Build ) So I ended up using a frame that I did not haver papers for, slapped my tag on it and crossed my fingers. This summer, it seemed like every time I rode Mary Jane something on it would break. Since she also has title issues I decided a new ground up build was in order. I had two possible paths The bent frame I had titled, registered and insured or one I have a salvage cert for that is my stalled Ratana Build. I decided to go with the bent frame and save the salvage cert frame for a later build to sell project.
    Introducing "The Problem Child".
    I'm borrowing the concept from the Ratana for this build. It should look something like this.

    So lets look at that frame.. How bad could it really be?

    The tail was swayed about 3" .. that wont do
    Lets cut the tail off of it and graft on a straight one from another frame. I used the "socket" for the factory weld and the motor sub-frame as a jig to keep everything straight. It worked out well. I also removed the center stand brackets while I was at it. It turned out pretty nice!

    I'll put in a slug to fill that gap.

    The original bent frame was an '89 Katana 750. I've always preferred the less boxy and shorter 600 tail section, so the tail grafted on is from a 600. That also will give me the slightly shorter 600 swing arm for a little better handling.
    In our next instalment, We will add some paint to the frame.

  • #2
    On With the Show... I was originally thinking Purple for the build so I went with a "Metallic Dark Metal" from Krylon for the frame. Everything gets top coated with SprayMax 2K High Gloss Clear. This stuff is amazing. Its a two part clear with hardener so it protects against fuel, brake fluid... ect.

    That's our 15 year old's Virago frame in the back. He is doing a ground up build. Start them young folks..

    It looks pretty good!
    Let's play with some body colors..
    Metallic bubble gum? ( my own creation )

    Maybe a darker Purple/Blue

    Im not feeling it. Then The wife suggested Gray.. ( OK, I actually love the Metallic Bubble Gum.. That's going to show up on another build sometime)

    Ohhh.. I like that. She's so smart.
    Lets add some red.

    Next Up? This thing will need a engine..


    • #3
      The plan is for this bike to eventually get a 1100 GSXR or a Bandit 1200 engine. That will need to wait until I find a killer deal on a parts bike to provide one. Until then I have a couple of "unproven" Katana 600 engines as well as "proven" 750 katana engine. Lets go with the 750. Its already been sorted out and runs great.
      Freshly pulled from Mary Jane..

      Its so much easier to just set the frame on the engine..

      All Buttoned up!
      Next up, Suspension..


      • #4
        Lets face it.. I'm not exactly thin and the Katana suspension was not designed for a person weighing 260lbs. What's a boy to do.....

        For the front, its easy.. Race Tech has the answers for a reasonable price. The stock front springs are 63 kg/mm. According to the Race Tech spring calculator, at my weight and on a katana I should have 1.05 kg/mm springs. So I picked up a set of 1.0 kg/mm (the closest rate available) and a set of their Gold Valve Cartridge Fork Emulators. I also picked up a fork seal set.

        For the rear, the answer was just a search of KatRiders away. I went with a 01-05 Bandit Rear Shock. The spring rate is a good match to the new fronts and I found a low mile one cheap. It will raise the rear a couple of inches from stock however. That's OK, I have a plan...

        In an effort to get the bike rolling, I'm not going to do the fork springs and emulators just yet. So for now, lets just get the triple tree, forks and front wheel/tire mounted.

        For our next trick, we will need a little help from the Cherry Picker.

        With the front rolling lets turn our attention to the rear. To compensate for the extra rear height added by the Bandit Shock/Spring I cut the upper shock mount off of the bent rear frame, flipped it over and welded it to the new frame. This raised the top mount enough to get the bike back to level. ( At least I hope.. )

        Lets put on the swing arm,shock, rear tire and some body work and take a look at what we've got so far.

        It was about now that I discovered that the rear spring doesn't clear the swing arm any more. (it did before I moved the upper mount) Groovy, I made a hardtail.. I'll need to fix that. Lets take it back apart, make a bigger shock pocket and try again.

        That should work

        I like the 600 tail, but I'm not fond of the 2 piece 600 seat. I feel like it pushes me too far forward where the one piece 750 seat lets me sit further back.

        To make that seat work I need to remove the rear seat mount but leave its sides so I can still mount the side fairings.

        More on the seat later.

        Exhaust and more body work up next..


        • #5
          Moving right along...

          I have the front end together mostly, brakes cleaned and painted, and even the exhaust built.

          I'm also thinking wheel stripes would look nice.

          And some body work and seat..

          Pretty, but I think this cut of the rear fairing looks more finished.

          I'm also looking at trimming the Front Fender a bit.

          And with that, you are caught up to today! Hope for more progress this weekend


          • #6
            Last night I made some spool mounts for the swing arm and a beefier fork brace. I also cut the fender. It was a good night
            I used my three favorite fab tools for this.... My grinder with a cut-off wheel, the one with the sanding disk and vise grips. OK I also used a sharpie and a drill.

            For the fork brace, I found some thick aluminum in the scrap bin at work. I Stared by tracing the brace.

            After a lot of cutting sanding and drilling I had a new stiffer brace

            Freshly cut fender... Oh and I striped the front wheel.