We’re getting closer and closer to getting our office bike on the road. We described our plan, introduced you to our beat up motorcycle, and detailed the work we’ve done already. Now let’s get to some fun stuff.

This post is sponsored by Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. For more information about graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, visit www.uti.edu/disclosure



A lot of mechanical work can be lost on everyone but true bike enthusiasts. It’s the customization that makes the ride stand out to the general population. And since we didn’t want a bike that’s classically restored—it’s not 1976 after all—it’s time to get customizing.

Ditching Parts

Part of making our bike the sleek machine we’re dreaming of requires getting rid of some of the bulky ‘70s-era components. Think less clunky disco shoes and more modern minimalism. We love the open frame look of our inspiration bikes, but getting ours to look similar will take a good bit of work. The main bulk is the battery box and air filter system. They take up the entire middle of the frame. To kill the bulk we had to remove the airbox, which means using pod filters and rejetting the carbs.

Next, because we wanted to simplify the wiring anyway, we had to figure out a solution to get rid of the clunky battery and case on the bike. After some research we found the bike can be run without the starting motor and by using a tiny 12v battery to power the headlight and brake light. Doing this let us ditch the larger battery and box all together. She’s already shedding pounds.

Custom Parts

Nailing the look we were gunning for takes quite a bit of work. Sure you can rip stuff off to make the bike look trim, but will it still run? Will the lights still work? Is it now a sexy piece of metal that won’t move? The mechanics had to be reconfigured to solve these problems. During the process, we figured we’d toss on new switches, brake lights, and a fresh speedometer. We also went ahead and outfitted our bike with new handlebars, grips, and a new seat.

We put some angle grinder work into some of our parts, choosing to modify the existing fenders rather than purchase aftermarket ones. Knowing that they’d be easy to bolt on was a relief. Ready to make some sparks, we set to chopping them up. It’s a good thing we got some practice in the fabrication department because other jobs soon came up. Since we removed the battery box, the new battery and charging system parts had to go somewhere. This required a plate cut up that we could mount parts to under the seat. The seat itself needed some holes drilled into the frame where it could be mounted as did the tail lights and license plate holder (we’re keeping the bike legal, after all).

The front end cleaned up BEAUTIFULLY and we wanted to keep it as minimal as possible. We were able to ditch the bulky controls that came on the bike and just had to mount the speedometer up front.

There was just one last thing to do…

Painting

We talked about our EXTENSIVE cleaning last week. Well, now it’s paying off.

As we spiffed up the wheels and installed new bearings we gave them a few coats of black paint, instead of the dull gray they’d become. The lower fork tubes and fenders got this treatment as well. Our headlight was now a lovely two tone black/chrome. It may seem obvious, but painting is such a simple step that really delivers that custom look.

One Thing We Couldn’t Pull Off


One of the most prominent features on the bike is the gas tank. A different tank can totally change the look of a bike. We shopped around but could only find tanks that were too “chopper” for our vision. Sure, some newer tanks we found would work, but those were too pricey for our budget. So we decided to strip our tank to bare metal and embrace its flaws, giving it the worn look we kind of like anyway.

Total Spent on Customization: $600 | Total Spent: $2,200

Guess what? This office bike is just about ready to hit the pavement. Stay tuned for Part 5, which is coming next week, for the reveal and to see our refurbished and rebuilt Yamaha in action.