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Discussion Starter #1
I'm mad. I'm an idiot. I'm a fool. I'm a tryhard. I'm a dipstick. I'm an Australian.
There you go, please feel free to say whatever you like, I'm prepared.
This project is to convert my Suzuki Intruder VS1400 into a neat bike. Not a chopper, or a bobber, tracker or a street fighter, the closest breed to my vision is a cafe racer. Well I'm 63, so that figures. Certainly it's a challenge, but not impossible as I've been told. Time will tell.

How did it get to this?
In 2010 after being thrown onto the industrial scrap heap, instead of looking for another job and despite calls of 'please come back' from my wife and 'the Taliban will get ya' from everyone else, I headed off on an around the world motorbike trip. I got as far as the UK and fell in love with the Isle Of Man. The cost of freight across the Atlantic is more than the bike is worth so bingo. Every winter I now head north.

What's the vision?
Subtle, functional, fun, safe. Nothing ridiculous or outrageous. I want it to be recognized as an Intruder, the steering head angle will stay as is, but the forks shortened a bit if ground clearance permits, slightly longer rear shocks, a bigger front disc, definitely a 4 piston caliper, rubber fork boots, front mudguard will most probably stay as is, the rear mudguard will be trimmed or replaced, tank replaced with something flatter and longer, flat bars and a higher flatter seat with a pillion cowl and the pegs rear set. The exhaust will be replaced, perhaps 2 into 1, but with curves, not like the existing straight sections. Smaller indicators, a paint job, that's about it.
I fly to the UK next week, pick up the bike in Sussex and ride it back to IOM via Heysham and get started, a piece of cake. I've got another bike on IOM, so I've got all the time in the world, well, my share anyway.
 

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Hey Mark, Post a pic of what might look similar to what you want. Like I dunno peraps this.

Intruder Cafe.JPG
 

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I would ride an intruder gussied up to look like a Norvin. Nothing wrong with that..
 

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Having owned and put quite a lot of miles on a vl1500 I would say don't change it, but the 1400 is quite a different beast.

I always thought they looked a bit squashed up as they have a shorter frame than the 1500, but still they are pretty good bikes for what they are - which is a low rider type of cruiser.

In the end it's your bike but from what you are telling us about what you want it to be I think you are starting with the wrong platform to modify. The Sachs pictured above is probably the best modified bike with your engine, but the frame is quite different and the bodywork is custom.....and really well done.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi, thanks for the replies and sorry for the delay, I've been busy. In August I rode the Intruder from Sussex back to the Isle Of Man and started the project. On the way I called in to Devizes to check out the canal locks and narrowboats, I'm interested in that sort of stuff. A few miles outside Devizes a dairy farmer drives his herd along the road to the dairy and I came along just after. Fair dinkum, the cows must have been grazing in a lush pasture because it was all over the road, it would have been counter productive to swerve to miss it, I would have wiped the road with my back. The good news is that it re-enforced my belief that a road bike needs mudguards and air filters.
With this fresh in my mind, my 1st modification was the rear mudguard. I've trimmed off the duck tail, about 1.5" and about 1" off the sides. I will post photos when I learn how.
I'm back in Australia now and realised I had a problem. How can I make the custom parts, particularly the tank and exhaust, for a bike on the other side of the world. The answer was obvious, buy another Intruder here. So now I have 2 identical projects, but there will be slight differences, the IOM bike will be black and the Oz bike will be white, so that sorts out their names, Ebony and Ivory.
I've been busy buying bits and pieces on eBay, I'm their best customer, I didn't realise retail therapy was such fun, and it has me buggered how China can do it at the prices they charge.
I could not find a suitable front disc, so I've bought Moto Guzzi 320mm discs which are pretty close and they are with my brother who has an engineering workshop. The bolt pattern radius is 1mm bigger and the ID is 7mm bigger so a centering ring is required. Luckily, the Intruder bolt holes are bigger so when they are drilled out at the required pattern radius all will be sweet. I have to scout around the wreckers for a couple of 4 piston calipers and make an adapter to fit the fork.
I've bought a 2nd hand Tig, it's going to be fun extending the tank and building a new exhaust. I was surprised when I removed the headers to find an inner pipe, only 1.5" diameter. This got me reading up about exhaust design, gas scavenging and free flow and vacuum reflected waves and all that jazz. Plus the length of the 2 headers is different, go figure, the front cylinder header is 74cm and the rear is 88cm. I'm thinking of making both headers the same length of about 60cm, going into a 2 into 1 collector, from there on a 2.5" diameter pipe and muffler. I'm thinking of slightly increasing the diameters of the headers after the first 6"" to 1 5/8", perhaps 1 3/4". I would appreciate any advice.
Cheers,
Mark
 

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Increasing the diameter of the exhaust pipes may lesson the back pressure and torque of the motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
P_20161116_173058.jpg
Here is a photo of the trimmed mudguard.
I thought I got it figured on the header length, but I haven't. The cylinder separation is 315 degrees, so lengths of 630mm and 720mm seem OK. This is close to the after markets pipes on my HD XR1200. I've just checked the HD crankshaft configuration and it's dïfferent so is irrelevant.
P_20160805_135348.jpg
 

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Don't know about the 1400, but the 1500 came with too narrow headers stock - all the aftermarket exhausts are significantly larger in diameter and they boost power across the RPM range by about 30% (with a suitable re-jet, of course).

The old Intruder forum crashed, but there is a newer one: http://intruders-alert.com

There should still be some guys over there who can help with your exhaust questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Don't know about the 1400, but the 1500 came with too narrow headers stock - all the aftermarket exhausts are significantly larger in diameter and they boost power across the RPM range by about 30% (with a suitable re-jet, of course).

The old Intruder forum crashed, but there is a newer one: http://intruders-alert.com


There should still be some guys over there who can help with your exhaust questions.
Hi Hillsy,
Thanks for the tip, I will check out that forum and also after market pipes for design features, I should have thought of that.
Cheers,
Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm just about to cut the bottom out of the tank. The 1st thing I want is to have the bottom of the seat horizontal, there is a slight concave curve to the top of the seat which should stop me from sliding about. The tank will be lowered about 50mm or so, and I want it all to flow, I might have to deepen the rear of the tank, I will look at that when I have cut the tank in half, it has to be lengthened 100mm.
P_20161119_102222.jpg
 

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I love the shape of that tank, so much so I put it on my XR when I was first setting it up in a flat track stance. Had that shape in my head for 20+ years and one day I was sitting at stop light in my car and turned my head to see an Intruder 600 and about flipped. It sat at a much steeper angle on the 600 but was the exact shape I was looking for. I hit a bike breaker before the week was done and bought one. Modified the mounts to fit my bike and welded in a flush aircraft gas cap. Sold it after having the Dunstall RR tanked when I changed to the full RR stance. This pic was during the transition and I had taken the flat track bars off and installed the clip-ons.

 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Hi Marc, yep I like it too. I looked around for a cafe racer tank, but realised I would most probably have to reshape the bottom anyway. So I had a brain flash : Why not re-use the existing tank. I'm butchering the bike, so why not re-use as much as possible? Like an Eskimo using all of a seal or an Indian using all of a buffalo.
I've cut the bottom out it, next step is to insert a 100mm extension just behind the filler cap. Hopefully the 2nd hand Tig I've bought will arrive soon, so I can put it all back together. It's one thing to slice and dice, a totally different thing re-constructing it, but I'm looking forward to it.
PS.
I've just had another brain flash, I've got to stop these or I'll give myself a headache. I've been concerned about the merge of the tank and seat, and initially I thought about deepening the tank, that would be a lot of work. But zap, how about just modify the end of the seat to let the tank merge into it. Add another 50mm or so to the mid section extension and bingo, problem solved.
P_20161119_171151.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My workshop is not quite ideal.
P_20161124_093952.jpg
And neither is my workbench, a plank on the woodheap.
P_20161124_094223.jpg
As a special treat, sometimes work ends up in the lounge room. My wife and the dog are quite relaxed with this intrusion, very tolerant.
P_20161124_111102.jpg
Can you see the black line marking the cut point on the tank? It's all seat of the pants guesswork, but she'll be right mate. I'm an optimist.
 

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In 2010 after being thrown onto the industrial scrap heap, instead of looking for another job and despite calls of 'please come back' from my wife and 'the Taliban will get ya' from everyone else, I headed off on an around the world motorbike trip.
I laughed hysterically at this, and am proud to know that people like you still exist. Well played, my good man. Well played.
 

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My workshop is not quite ideal.
View attachment 40186
The only way this ^^^ could be better is if the buckets were full of water :cool:

As a special treat, sometimes work ends up in the lounge room. My wife and the dog are quite relaxed with this intrusion, very tolerant.
View attachment 40202
Can you see the black line marking the cut point on the tank? It's all seat of the pants guesswork, but she'll be right mate. I'm an optimist.
Bonus points if you cut the tank in half on the coffee table.....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Cheers Dohc and Hillsy, you gotta laugh at life, and I wimped out on the bonus points. I'm just about ready to start tigging, next step is to clean up the weld areas. The 2nd hand welder I bought has arrived, but minus the mask, but I'm assured it's now on its way, just a misunderstanding. I bought some TIG consumables yesterday, the salesman was most helpful after I explained that I've got no idea what I'm doing. My 1st practice will be patching the holes in the mudguard where the tail light was mounted. It should be interesting. P_20161124_162247.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20
to quote brocky "bite off more than you can chew, then chew like hell".
I'm chewing Brad.
After waiting nearly a month for the welding mask to arrive and losing my faith in humanity, I bought another mask on eBay. I would have bought it earlier if I had checked how cheap it was, only $18.50 including postage. Of course the other mask arrived the very next day, oh ye of little faith. But it wont be wasted, as I am a Tasmanian.
My workbench has migrated from the woodheap to inside the shed, and has morphed from a plank into the neighbour's discarded kitchen bench.
P_20161219_152452.jpg
Just to prove I've got no shame here is a photo of my 1st attempt at TIG welding. Needless to say I've got a long way to go before starting on the tank.
P_20161219_152554.jpg
Cheers,
Mark
 
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