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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All, I'm Brian from Phoenix, AZ. I recently bought an 82 CB550l. It is completely original with the chrome fenders, mag wheels, etc... I plan on taking few parts off and saving them as they are all in almost perfect condition. I'll be riding this back and forth to work and maybe around town from time to time.Currently the stock handle bars are too far back and feel awkward. The seat has this short back and makes me sit too far forward over the foot pegs. (see link below for a picture that is exactly the same as what I have)

http://www.cyclechaos.com/images/thumb/1/1d/1982-Suzuki-GS550L-Maroon-459-0.jpg/640px-1982-Suzuki-GS550L-Maroon-459-0.jpg

I have a couple ideas I would like to share and see what my possibilities are. First, i love the bobber look with the full suspension. I don't want to make the frame rigid as my back would not take the hard ride. I'd like to go to wire wheels with the same size tires on the front and back, short fenders, different handler bars and a solo seat. I need to sit almost straight up and want to find some handlebar suggestions that might accommodate that. Below are the things I would like to do in a list:

1. Change the rear brake to disk. Suggestions on where I can buy a kit or new parts that would bolt on. If I have to buy something used, please let me know what model and year bike I can get it from.
2. Mount a solo seat and springs. Is there a mounting kit that would provide all the mount points to set a seat in place or a bracket kit?
3a. One option I like is wire wheels, but I want the front and back to be the same diameter and use taller white wall tires. I really want to get new wire wheels. Anybody know a set that will just bolt on after I have the tires mounted and use disks in both front and back?
3b. Other wheel option i like is using newer mag wheels and have them polished or chromed. Maybe something like the style of a new gsxr600. Not sure what model bike I should look for to get these wheels and if the brake disks will line up.

I have some good mechanical ability, but it's mostly in building automation for manufacturing. I can handle some grinding, cutting, etc..., but I don't have access to welders or milling machines.
Thank you in advance to all who help me. I will be truly grateful for the wisdom you share. For those who offer nothing but smart a$$ comments, I will just ignore them. I'm not here to amuse myself or you. I just hope to find some guidance and help with making this bike my own.

Cheers,

Brian

PS. I saw this image and like the wire wheels and rear wide whitewall tire.
http://www.kingbirdmotoring.com/GS550/images/07202004/left_view.jpg
 

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First of all, you have a GS550L which is a Suzuki - CB's are Hondas.

Secondly, go to GS Resources and search that forum for technical stuff. They know every bolt on your bike.

Third, GS750 wire wheels will be your best bet for as close to a bolt on fit as you can get. Source the entire rear end (incl swingarm) for all the disc brake bits. Mind you, those wheels are getting hard to find nowadays because everyone uses the hubs to turn their mag wheeled Katanas into wire wheeled replicas.
 

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Pretty sure all the wheels and the rear swingarm from the 78-82 GS550 E's are bolt on. That will get you spoked wheels, but that wont get you a rear disc.
There are rear disc spoked gs750 wheels from 77-79(?), but the rear requires a mix of the 750 and 550 spacers, if I remember correctly. You will also be required to weld a stay for the disc brake onto the 550 swingarm, as well as tabs for the rear master.

Good on you for keeping some supsension.

As jillsy said, the wire wheeled disc brake rear from the early GS's are harder to find and expensive now. I'd just use the easier to install 78 spoked drum from a gs550 E and call it a day. Easier to install, works fine, less expensive, etc.
 

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You need to learn to use the front brake and not worry about going over the bars, you won't
Disc rear brake isn't necessary although it will be simple enough to fit disc wheel from 750.
You will need to have master cylinder mounts welded to frame if you go with disc rear though
It would be a lot easier to remove and change things to get closer to the look you want but keep stock wheels. Keep major mods for next project (or get another bike to work on/modify while your still learning to ride properly)
 

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I know the OP will ignore this because he said he would but why do ask other peoples opinion to make the "bike my own"? You use everyone else's ideas and then call it your own? WTF. Unique bikes are few and far between here or anywhere else.
white shoe polish on the tires will get the look you are looking for just like that guy did.
 

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does it matter? it will never be a real "bobber" anyway - it will always be a chopper that someone is pretending is not a chopper. Real "bobbers" are street legal flat track racers from the 50's -60's but the dirtbags already co-opted thew word because it is gay to own a chopper now so who cares.

2. Mount a solo seat and springs. Is there a mounting kit that would provide all the mount points to set a seat in place or a bracket kit?

can you weld?:
Biltwell Macho Negro Seat Hinge - Black

Lowbrow Customs / Solo Seat Weld-On Spring Mounts / Perches -

you buy the seat and the brackets. you assemble all the pieces. you place the assembly on the frame to see where they will sit. You adjust slightly. Then you tack weld the mounts in place. Then disassemble the seat setup and fully weld the mounts. bang you are done. try not to set something on fire.

can't weld? neither can I, that's why I bought an ironhead sportster and a bolt on solo seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks so far to everyone that posted. I appreciate the advice and assistance. Sorry for the mistake. I meant to put GS550L. My bad. As for experience. I've been riding for 30 years. I started racing motocross and have owned a GSXR750, SV1000s, Speed Triple 995, and last bike was an interceptor 800. My back is compressed due to the combination of military service and age. The same for my forearms. The reason I got this GS550 is for the smooth ride of an inline 4 and the upright position. I'm not trying to make it faster or make any dramatic changes. I just want to do what I like. I could care less if it's cool or if anyone else likes it. It's mine and that's all that matters. I'll see into getting a 750 rear arm and wheel set. I'm really set on getting the spoked wheels and a rear disk. I'm thinking of getting clubman handlebars and mounting them upright to put the grips a little more forward, but not too forward. Those stock bars are really awkward. , bu

I like this look, but with some spoked wheels and whitewall tires:
1448dae.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You need to learn to use the front brake and not worry about going over the bars, you won't
Disc rear brake isn't necessary although it will be simple enough to fit disc wheel from 750.
You will need to have master cylinder mounts welded to frame if you go with disc rear though
It would be a lot easier to remove and change things to get closer to the look you want but keep stock wheels. Keep major mods for next project (or get another bike to work on/modify while your still learning to ride properly)
Done wheelies on my gsxr at 150 mph and endos from 60 mph to 0 on a CBR600. Think I know how to ride. how about some useful expert advice. Thanks
 

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Upside down clubmans are not any more comfortable than clubmans mounted normally. They won't give you pullback you need and you'll be tightening your upper back muscles to hold on to them with your wrist at a funny angle. Plus it's still pulling you forward.

figure out the seat first, that is the hard problem and the least adjustable. Since you are not changing the foot pegs at all, that us your reference point. Take the seat off the bike now and mock up your riding position. Leg position is as important to back health so you want a good series of leg angles not too compressed. Too many times I see guys put low saddles on a jap bike and their riding position looks like they are squatting in the woods to take a dump. Not only is it hard on the Achilles' tendon it can lead to inflamed hemhorriods. If you really want this bike to be a BarcaLounger it starts with the seat position.
 

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dirtbags already co-opted thew word because it is gay to own a chopper now so who cares.
Hey - I just visited back in the US and west coast (Venice et al) had several 70s style choppers - no black leather on riders but full on hipster gear. Bubble visors and skinny jeans. Saw one small asian girl jumping on kickstarter when his carefully ungroomed boyfirend (my assumption) came to help. Didn't look like either knew what they were doing but both bikes were HDs with narrow high bars (I think there is a name).

I think these guys were proud to have choppers.
 

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how about some useful expert advice. Thanks
For a person with age you really can come of as an entitled one. People discus here - what they want. This is not you expert helpdesk. People here tend to say what they want and take the discussion where they want - just like you don't care what other think you should be doing with your bike (even though you ask). Trust me its better this way. Feel free to ignore bits you don't agree with or don't like.

cheers and good luck.
 
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