How I Changed The Tires On My Motorcycle With A Shovel.

During my lunch yesterday, before I even got off the motorcycle, I was told by the local inspection station that I needed new tires, a license plate light, and a more visible location for my license plate.  Apparently I have been riding dirty for a while now.  “Oopsy! You caught me!”  I won’t lie though, I was aware of all of this, and figured somebody would call me out on it eventually.  As it turns out, that time was yesterday.  Ah well, at least once I fix it all I won’t have to cross my fingers, toes, and bring a lucky rabbit’s foot to the inspection station each year.  What a relief.

Since I was replacing my tires this year whether I had an inspection sticker or not, I ordered them about a week ago. Now, I have never had new tires on my bike, so I had no idea that shops charge anywhere from $25 – 50 per tire for mounting and balancing.  Surprise! Yea, no.  I am way too cheap, and I tend to stress out when people touch my vehicles.  I have trust issues I suppose. Anyway, when I got home yesterday, my fresh new tires were waiting for me, and “operation tire swap” was about to commence.  I had swapped car tires without machines before, but never motorcycle tires, but how different could it be?

I began by hanging my bike from my garage rafters and popping the rear wheel off.  I laid it on a piece of cardboard, and pulled the schrader valve out of the valve stem to let all of the pressure out.

With my fingers crossed and happy thoughts in my head, I broke the bead loose on the old tire with a shovel.   » Continue reading more of this post…

Done: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

It all started back in early April when I posted the Honda Hawk GT Build Part 1.  I had just pulled it out of my dark, damp, and disgusting shed, and found that it had become the meeting place for all of the local spiders. Once the arachnid population was evicted and the sunlight hit it, I came to the  realization that my long term neglect had really taken a toll on my once loved motorcycle.  Every piece of aluminum was corroded, and all of the steel was rusting.  It was flat out sad looking.  The only way to properly correct this situation was to strip the whole thing down and start over. » Continue reading more of this post…

The Resurrection: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

Back on the 4th of April, I showed off my terribly neglected motorcycle.  It clearly needed a bath, along with a complete tear down, and rebuild.  We left off with a picture of a motorcycle frame & suspension sitting on a wooden block in the middle of the garage. It was not a pretty site, and it only got worse from there. » Continue reading more of this post…

From the Darkness: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

Over the past weekend, I pulled my motorcycle out of its multi-year outdoor / indoor hibernation, and it was not a pretty site. The once shiny motorcycle was corroded, rusty, and covered in dirt and debris. It was down right neglected. The sad truth is that this isn’t the first time that this bike was in such rough shape. I guess I shouldn’t have treated it like I did.

Throughout my entire youth I had worked on and ridden dirt bikes, so I had a fairly good idea of how to ride (and crash) on two wheels. It was some of the most fun that I have ever had, but ultimately, four wheeled vehicles were really where my heart was at. The feeling of sliding two rear tires down the street closed course, is just unmatched. However, about 9 years ago, all of my friends had bought motorcycles, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun. It was peer pressure I guess. At the time, I didn’t know which kind of bike I wanted, but I knew it had to be custom and unique, because stock is boring. After some research, a bizarre series of events, and a fair share of good luck, I ended up purchasing a basket case motorcycle project off eBay. It was missing the gas tank, seat, rear cowl, subframe, exhaust system, and misc other stuff. Unlike my family and friends, I could see the hidden potential for greatness behind all of those missing parts. After all, it was a 1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650, which was a unique bike in stock form. Once customized, it could really be spectacular. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this bike is somewhat rare and odd in a variety of ways. It was designed with a V-twin engine, single sided swing arm, and a very short wheelbase. They were only made between 1988 and 1991, but many riders believe that they were way ahead of their time.

The first step in the resurrection process was attaining & building parts that it was missing. Over the course of a few weeks, I acquired the necessities, and built the rest out of fiberglass, steel, aluminum, and spare ’64 Chevy Impala parts.  I spent many long, cold, wintery, nights working on my soon-to-be dream bike, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute.  It was genuinely relaxing.  Eventually the Viper yellow paint went on with the white pearl stripes and I had completed my bike project, for the time being at least. This is what it looked like.

1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650

I then rode it periodically over the next few years, added a few new things, life took place, and it was stored in a variety of terrible places, including uncovered outside. Yesterday when the bike came out of its latest storage, it was disturbing, disheartening, and discouraging. » Continue reading more of this post…