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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. New to the forum, but have read many posts. Have been riding all my life and am a non-pro wrencher. Luckily I have some good friends who know much more than I do and allow me to bend their ear, much like the folks do on this site. Last year I was at the Bearded Lady bike show in Minneapolis and spotted a 1966 Ducati Monza Jr sitting in the back of a pickup, and it was for sale. Ends up that the owner was in our local VJMC (vintage Japanese motorcycle club), and had recently passed away. Another member was helping his widow liquidate his bike collection, and the little Ducati had to go. Little was known about the Ducati, but they were selling it as a non-running bike. The paint on the tank and fenders was shiny, but the rest of the bike was fairly cobbled together. The price seemed reasonable and i was looking for a project, so i jumped at it, not knowing exactly what i was going to do with it. I found the posts by DesmoDog on this site and started creating a plan. The bike was too "non-original" to try restoring, so a Cafe bike was in the making. But before I could start throwing too much money at it, I needed to hear it run. Went through all the normal procedures, hooked it to an external fuel supply, fixed some of the wiring that was done incorrectly, and within 30 minutes it was running and it shifted through all 4 gears. Did not ride it as we had it hooked to a fuel stand and the tires were not safe, but at least it ran. Attached are the pictures of the bike when purchased.
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Well, before tearing it completely apart I wanted to get a general feel for and shape. So I started collecting parts and doing some mock-up. First round of mock-up gave me the general look I wanted. Anything non essential would be removed from the bike. The goal is to have the bike look as stripped down as possible while still being safe an functional. I love the look of these old singles, so I want the engine to be the first thing you see when you look at the bike. Started collecting parts, like the seat/tail section and new rear shocks you see in this picture, which also lifts the rear a little, which should help make the bike a little easier for a 6' tall rider.
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Discussion Starter #3
I have been working on this bike for over 6 months, so I will be adding several posts and pictures of the progress over that timeframe. Since I was impatient, the first thing I wanted to dig into was the engine. Since we know that it runs (and actuall sounded really good), it was the exterior condition that needed my attention. The Aluminum all looked like you would expect on a 48 year old bike that had sat in a garage, shed or barn for much of its life. So I spent many hours working and polishing all the covers, and then replaced gaskets and put it all back together. I think it ended up looking pretty good.
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The wheels needed a lot of attention. They were from a Yamaha RD200, and like many old bikes, the spokes were shot and the rims and hubs were less than show quality. So, it was time to get them cleaned and shined, then to add new chrome spokes, get them true, and install the new tires/tubes/rim strips. I used the quick spoke remover (cutting wheel), then started polishing the hubs. Once that was done, it was time for assembly. I had never done this before, but it was not that difficult, just time consuming to get them true. Below are some pics of the process, and then temporarily fitting them to the bike. They ended up looking great. For those of you that know this bike, it originally shipped with 16" rims. Hey, it is a small bike. But by swapping those for 18" rims will make the bike much more ridable for an average sized person.
Here is the Front:
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And the Rear:
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And both finished and temporarily fitted to the bike:
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Discussion Starter #4
Continuing with mock-up, i needed to address the front motor mounts, the fork ears, and a rear fender. First were the motor mounts. The original had the side stand attached to it, so it needed to go. Made a set out of 1/4" Aluminum, cut them, shaped them and polished them. Test fit was good to go. The fork ears, (tubes) were too short given the longer Yamaha forks, so I found a junk yard piece with the same diameter and we welded on an extension. That will bring the seam where it should be. And last was the rear fender. I just wanted a short piece to go in front of the rear wheel, and a friend had a discarded fender from a 60's Honda that fit perfect, with a little trimming of course.
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Discussion Starter #5
With general mock-up completed, it was time to finish with the frame. Everything that was not needed for the new design was cut off and ground smooth. Then it was off to JDJ Custom Coatings in Waconia, MN. Pictures below are after sand blasting the frame, upper and lower triple tree, swing arm, and center stand. From there they were powder coated in Mirror Black. The work turned out great and I would recommend Jeremy at JDJ to anyone in the area.
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While the frame was out for powder coating, I turned my attention to the carburetor. It was a crusty mess, even after having it run through an ultasonic cleaner. It was functional, but far from pretty. I disassembled it and started the polishing process on each piece. Some may say I went overboard on this, but I think it looks great and adds more shine to the engine, well worth about 8 hours of polishing. Below are the before and after pictures.
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So glad you painted the frame black.
Awww, really? There is something so early 60's Italian about a gold framed ducati single. Or Copper, or blue, or red, or silver, or basically anything but black.

I feel like the bodywork needs to be black and white now. Or black and copper. Or black and red. Something about ducati and their bodywork needs to match the frame on it's predominant color.
 

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Nice bike.

This thread makes me want to polish the heck out of my little Duc, or at least wash the dirt off it from the giro 4 years ago.....

Did you put yamaha front forks on the Jr.?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, the forks are off a '76 Yamaha RD200. It came down to wanting to keep the original triple tree and fork ears, and the RD forks were the only ones I could find with the same diameter (I think they were 20mm diameter) as the originals. My other option was to replace the entire front end by pressing the original steering stem into a replacement front end. Trying to find original old Ducati parts in good shape is like a needle in a haystack. They were also a little longer than the originals, which is a plus since I have 18" rims (as opposed to original 16").

As for the black frame, I went back and forth for a month deciding between black or red. In the end, after all the colored drawings I made, the red was just too much color, and IMHO took away from the focus on the engine. Personal preference I guess. If it had been closer to original and I was able to do more of a restore than a special, I would have done red.

It has been a long project, but I am really happy with the way it is turning out. You should get your bike back on the road. Send pics if you can.
 

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Makes me want to take the wheels off of my RD350 donor and start polishing. Great looking work.
 

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very interested to see how you progress with this bike, i have a 1968 suzuki k10p that i want to do something of the same with. subscribed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to all the comments. You never know what people will think of your vision, as there is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to doing something custom. Even within the "Cafe" community, there are views on what should or should not be done. Clubman bars are one example. Many don't like them, but for this build they were the best option since I really like the way the fork ears look (they are original to the bike, but slightly modified), and there was no way to go with clip-ons for this bike.

Well, fast forward from the last pictures, as over the next few weeks I started getting it back up and rolling. I still had some fabrication to do, but it was time to start puting this thing together. Most of the final fabrication (like the brake and shift linkages, electrical, etc.) needs to have the bike assembled, so here we go. Even though the frame is powder coated, I decided to protect it by wrapping it in towels. The last thing I want to do is get a scratch or knick in any of the finish. So, for now it looks like it is in the hospital and covered in bandages.
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Lookin' good! Good call on protecting the frame. PC is tough but sharp edges and heavy parts will tear up any coating.

Tell us about your shocks... they look suspiciously like a very cheap pair of Chinese "shock imitators" I had on my GL for a short time...

-Deek
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Deek, I had limited choices for the shocks. I wanted to raise the rear slightly, but was limited by the distance I could lower the swing-arm without having the chain hit the frame. I needed a shock that was exactly 12.25" from the center of the mounts, and 10mm diameter mounting holes with rubber bushings. I also did not want to change the shock mounts because of the limited options to relocate them. There is just not that much frame to the bike. These shocks were designed to fit a Suzuki 100, but I was really surprised to see how stiff they are, which is what I wanted. Plus, they do have some adjustment to them, so I can play around with the settings. Yes, they were fairly inexpensive and likely made in China (honestly I did not even look), but since the bike will likely weigh in at less than 250lbs., I don't think I will have a problem. Once I get it on the road, I will provide feedback on their performance.
 

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A spring is a spring is a spring... it's the guts that will get you in trouble. If they are the ones I think they are, there's basically no dampening at all. On the GL it felt like every bump in the road would cause the rear tire to leave the pavement.

Now, the GL is not a 250lb Monza so I have no idea how they might perform in your situation. Hopefully they work out for you.

If you can shell out some real cash for shocks, you would be much better served by something adjustable. (For instance, a 12" shock extended to 12.25" via the clevis adjustment) Ohlins and some Hagon models have adjustable clevis ends.

-Deek
 
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