Last updated 6/27/10
After a marathon session yesterday and last night I got everything together for a test ride this morning. Amazingly it went together right the first time, no oil or coolant leaks, carbs and petcock were tight, and the bike started right up. I did have a little hickup on the first ride when the baffle shot out of the top pipe. A spot weld came apart allowing the screw that holds the baffle in to back out. My wife was right behind me on her VTR and luckily was able to avoid the bouncing baffle. The ride home was a noisy one, but I re-installed it, and fixed both of them so that would never happen again. The second ride was trouble free and I stopped up at the river to take these pictures.
I thought for a long time about what color to paint it. Then I happened to see a 1975 Honda CR125 Elsinore on Craigs List one day and decided to go with that theme. The Honda tank stickers came from Vintage Factory. The local guy I used in Titusville did a wonderful job, I think I'll let him paint my Chevelle next.
I bought the seat cover from Sargent and borrowed my buddies pneumatic staple gun and installed it myself. I sanded the existing foam first, (a trick I learned from an upholstery guy), to get it smooth enough for the new cover to look good.
The round headlight assembly is from Aztec8 in Ormond Beach FL. Along with the Acewell speedo/computer, it sits a lot lower than the stock square light and bulky instrument cluster. I think it really cleans up the front of the bike. The top of the ignition switch used to rise about 2" above the top clamp to clear the stock idiot light cluster. I repositioned it with some bronze spacers, like to ones I used to mount the new speedo bracket.
The engine cases and valve covers were powder-coated. The coolant and oil lines were wire-brushed and then clear-coated. After painting the heads I sanded the edge of the fins, did the same thing with the fins on the voltage regulator. Those familiar with Ascots will notice I left the plastic cover off that hides the coolant lines and hoses underneath the stator cover, I think it looks better without it.
The rear end is cleaned up a lot without the stock pipe's power chamber, and without the passenger pegs and associated brackets. Those YSS-USA shocks ride as nice as they look.
I bought those mirrors on Craigs List for $15. They're real nice, heavy chrome over billet, but adjustment is critical with such a small face. In these pictures you can see how much lower and smaller the new instrument/headlight setup is as compared to stock.
I'm happy with the way it turned out, and it's a fun little bike to ride. Very nimble, low seat height, good low-end power. I built it mainly for my wife to ride and I think it will suit her just fine. A bit more power than her VTR250, but not a lot more weight. It a wonder to me that they never really caught on in the states, having only been imported for two years, in '83 and '84. However the style did catch on in various iterations in Europe and enjoyed quite a long run over there.