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Discussion Starter #1
After five years of hard work, and many game changing moves (like, changing the fenders three times :shrug:), I'm finding that my ridiculously insatiable imagination is at it again. So rather than to share my ideas and showcase the products in multiple threads, I thought it may be better to just create a "build" thread that starts from the beginning. I don't intend to get this thread up to date with modifications and projects immediately, but rather a little at a time, as I can with my spare time. Once my posts are up to date with where the bike's at, I'll start posting about the next transformation I've begun for a winter project. Yes, this is going to be a big change, so stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Original condition at purchase

Spring of 2007. After a year of learning with my first bike (a 2004 Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom), I realized I was serious about motorcycling and decided to upgrade to something that would suit my 6'3" frame and need for throttle a little better. Through Craigslist, I bought this 2002 Honda VTX 1800 C. It had 11,000 miles on it and only one owner, and came with Vance & Hines Big Shots Staggered pipes, a Hypercharger air cleaner, PC-III (pre-USB), and Corbin seat.

I learned quickly not to twist the throttle like my old 650, as I spun the tire and nearly went into a fishtail when taking it home. I loved everything about the X from day one, especially the power. The only thing I wanted to change off the bat were the mirrors and seat. That's where it all started....







 

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So, it appears you are getting anxious to start using your medical training on Frank: Dr. Transfigurationist at your service :icon_buil
Good luck with your new build Shawn, will be tuned in :patriot:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The Genesis: new mirrors and fender

Summer 2008: After putting Kuryakyn mirrors and stock seat on in the last season, 2007, I had a little extra dough from selling the Corbin seat. And so the mod bug began, with an X Sickles rear fender, curved license plate side-mount, and some bullet turn signals from Kury..






So, it appears you are getting anxious to start using your medical training on Frank: Dr. Transfigurationist at your service :icon_buil
Good luck with your new build Shawn, will be tuned in :patriot:
Yessir! I think what I've got in mind now is going to blow the current style out of the water. I just hope my wallet can keep up with my plan! :banghead:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The side cover saga begins

Summer 2008: As some of you may have read in my side cover fabrication thread, I'm not happy with the 2002 C model side covers. Having improved the mirror situation, this seemed the next logical move. Back then, the Switchblade side covers were easy to find!



But I still wasn't happy: That X Sickles fender just looked like a sloppy mess..

 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
First big winter: Growing long and fat

Come winter 2008/2009, I sold my old Yamaha V-Star and received a reenlistment bonus from Uncle Sam. I was ready for the first big project.

I purchased an X Choppers fat tire kit, 8° triple trees with 2” fork extensions from VTX-treme, a Dakota Digital 7400 series gauge cluster, sent the tank out to BD's Cycles to smooth out the seams, fill the top of the tank, and install a pop-up gas cap. I picked up RC Components Slash wheels with Avon Cobra tires (21" 120mm front, 18" 250mm rear), Cruiser Performance 1.25” Fatty T-Bars, MB Products 10.5" rear shocks, and a few chrome goodies.

All this and I hadn't even discovered the Cafe or OA yet! Sometimes I kick myself when I think about how much money I could have saved if I had only explored the web a little more and found these two boards sooner. At the time, I believed these X Sickles fenders were the only aftermarket options for the VTX. :rolleyes:











 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Frank's new form, part 1

By the summer of 2009, I had added the Aeromach UltraFlow air box, a Russ Wernimont Designs Long OCF front fender, a mean looking radiator cowl (bought it with a hole in the front for a screen, but fiberglassed over it), and a few more chrome goodies. All just in time for the 69th Sturgis Rally!







Oh, and due to MA laws about license tags, I had to ditch the vertical mount for a horizontal. :doh:






On the ride out there, I had a very close call regarding my handy work. The front fender mounts twisted and snapped under the weight of the long metal fender and force of +70 mph winds. The fender caught a gust, ripped off the bike and flew right past my head. :icon_yike
Not a pleasant experience but from that day forward, I approached every modification with the utmost attention to detail and understanding. Lesson learned.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Rear fender #3; Frank's new form, part 2

After spending the remainder of the summer riding without a front fender and having second thoughts about the X Sickles rear fender, I went into project-mode just before the '09/'10 winter. I sold the X Sickles rear fender to pull the trigger on the Sumo-X Shorty Fat Fender, which required the addition of a very handy sawzall to cut the frame a bit. While I was at the work of installing the new fender, I also painted the engine with a black wrinkle texture paint, picked up those sharp looking Adjure rear turn signals, a replacement front fender, and the Sumo-X Booty Pad and sissy bar.

I also changed the mirrors out again, probably a third time. I was having some real problems with the left-side mirror-- the metric adapters absolutely sucked, I could never get the mirror to stay put in the position I needed it to be. I tried Loctite and other options and just ripping it off and riding with only a mirror on the right side. I was also having a bad experience with the Jardine grips-- the chrome strips were starting to chip and would cut my hands anytime I rode without gloves. So, of course, this would not be the last project of big changes. I got a bit more riding in before putting the bike away for the winter, where I let her hibernate undisturbed 'til April. Here's how things looked leading into 2010:













 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
A winter outside the garage

Thanks guys :cheers:

So, I took the winter of 2010 off from working on the bike, mostly because I discovered a new winter activity that I actually enjoy more than alpine skiing: winter hiking, climbing, camping, rappelling, traversing, etc. New Hampshire's White Mountains offer baseline winter conditions more severe than the worst recorded weather in Antarctica, and I took learning that fact as an opportunity. I started that winter with a few climbs and now love waiting until Mt Washington and the Presidentials are snow-covered and desolate of hikers to go up with a few buddies, for a day or weekend. The words of Rene Daumal sum the experience pretty well: "One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up."











But enough about me, back to Frank!

Spring 2010: Found an airbrush artist to add a touch to my helmet. Also doing my riding with only one mirror now was getting on my nerves and prompting a brainstorm for a bigger solution than jimmy-rigging yet another mirror set with those metric adapters.



More to come soon, we're getting close to realtime.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Winter work: BD's paint, new shocks, etc

Winter '11 was another one spent in the mountains, fast forward to Sumer 2012: I picked up the Hondaline Sport Cowl Fairing thing, whatever it's called. It's awesome. Gave the bike a badass look the instant it went on. And surprisingly, it actually deflects some wind for me. I can comfortably cruise the highway 10-15 mph faster than without it.



Winter of 2012: I switched to black Progressive 412 Series Shocks (11.5") shocks and added a chrome hub ring/ license tag from Mean Machine Cycle Parts. This is a really great piece, and not too much of a pita to install if you've ever removed the rear wheel before.





Also that winter, I got my tins out to Bryan at BD's Cycles for paint! :glee:

Unfortunately, about a month before I was ready to send the tins out to Bryan, I lost one of my Switchblade side covers on a pothole during a ride. I didn't notice til I got home, but still went back out to the area and spent a few hours searching til it started getting dark. Thinking the Switchblades were out of production, I was very bummed. Last thing I wanted to do was to go back to the 2002 C model covers (see here for the backstory on that: http://www.vtxcafe.com/showthread.php/158690-Fabricating-my-own-side-covers-need-your-opinions!), so I tried a few sets from other models and years and ended up with a set of R covers that seemed to work out the best. They didn't fit the grommets, but I figured I could rig them in a way that would work.



 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Big Winter No. 2, Frank's new form, part 3

Winter 2012/2013: I was pretty busy working on my career, but managed some time to repaint the engine with another coat of black. While I was at it, I painted the forks in John Deere Blitz Black, a really nice semi-flat. I also picked up a pretty rare and sleek LED lightbar in chrome. I thought this would add a nice contrast to the black forks.

I decided to paint the forks when I got the idea that less is more when it comes to chrome and aluminum. I'm still on a plan to de-chrome more of the bike this winter, but I started with the front end: I opted for black upper controls, forks, and black forward controls with matching handgrips and footpegs from Accutronix.

For the uppers, the Joker Machine kits were very appealing, but also very expensive and not really fitting with the image I was going for. I did a little research about how to do this, and what changes in master cylinder size would affect things like lever stiffness, and ended up with a set of black controls from a Harley Dyna Glide (which have an easy to use throttle lock) at a very reasonable price. This required custom cables and lines from Spiegler, which ended up being more costly than I planned, but they're a great company and the product is incredible.

I also switched the pipes from the Vance & Hines to Cobra Dragsters (which fit much better for the look I was going for, and offer a more aggressive tone), relocated the rear brake via Glen's VTX Garage, added a self-cancelling turn signal module, and just a standard set of HD mirrors because I've always loved that shape. Finally, NO MORE MIRROR HEADACHES! ;)





















 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
New front turn signals & PC-V w/AT-300

Winter 2013/2014: Didn't really get to do much of anything, as I was stuck in an academic cave. This brings us to present condition-- switched out the LED lightbar for Headwinds front turns signals, and had a shop install the PowerCommander 5 and Dual Channel AutoTune. Frank has never run stronger!


And now that we're in the present here, I'll start sharing my ideas for this winter. I'll be interested in hearing your opinions on the changes I have in mind....


 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Upcoming mods

I hope everyone's taking advantage of Labor Day by getting out and riding. For those of us who can't, we'll get it where we can!

Alright, this winter's project is pretty ambitious, maybe a little too ambitious, but time will tell.

Fade to Black (de-chroming), etc:
- Polishing the engine fins
- Relocating the horn to between left-side cylinder heads
- Add Honda Countershaft Cover Trim (Fluted) to left-side rear engine cover
Paint the following chrome pieces John Deere Blitz Black:
- OEM spark plug covers
- OEM clutch and timing covers
- OEM crankshaft cover and countershaft engine cover (this is the part just forward of the Kury frame trim cover). I'm not sure yet if I want to paint this entire piece black, or just a portion of it, leaving the outward oval portion in chrome for continuity with the chrome Kury frame trim piece. But I'm also toying with the idea of having BD's paint that Kury piece green.
- Repaint the forks

This wouldn't make the engine totally blacked out however, as the cylinder heads will still be chrome, as well as the pipes, airbox, and Honda fluted billet chrome covers on over the spark plugs, clutch cover, timing & crankshaft covers, stator cover, and countershaft cover. This combo should create a nice contrast against the black.




More Green:


- I have a set of Switchblade side covers that should be on their way to me in the next week or so. As you all know about these covers, there's more area to them that encloses the engine compartment up toward where the seat and tank meet.
- To complete the look of an enclosed engine compartment, I've been looking into getting the Corbin chin fairing http://www.corbin.com/honda/vtx1800chin.shtml. I've been thinking about how much I'd love a little more green on the bike and this seems like a great answer.



New Tins, Swing Arm, & Seat:


- If I can find a buyer for my Sumo-X rear fender, I'd really like to switch to the Neo fender http://www.sumo-xstore.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=SUM2060. I think this would work very well into the lines of the bike, from the long front fender, to the curved enclosure of the engine compartment.
- With the Neo fender, I would replace my Sumo-X Solo seat with the 1.5 seat from Sumo, and only use the Solo seat with the Booty Pad when I'm riding 2-up.
- If I can find a buyer for my Sumo-X swing arm, I'd also like to switch to the tubular swing arm by Sumo. That's a major move for a minor cosmetic change, so I'm not going to pursue that one as eagerly.



New Tank?:


I've also been going back and forth about saying goodbye to the digital gauge and pop-up gas cap for an F model tank with the pointed bezel and digital dash. I'm really attracted to the shape of the bezel, and of course, the digital dash component. I found a guy on the 'OA who has a tank with all the dash components, but it would cost a pretty penny. I could only do this if I can find a buyer for both the tank and Dakota gauge. A side perk to this would be that I would have a little more fuel capacity by having to install an external fuel pump. And I have to look more into this, but I believe that the 2005+ F model tank and dash actually has a fuel level sensor, rather than just an empty light. I'm still really on the fence about this change though, as I really do love the Dakota dash and smooth tank.


If I do end up putting a Neo fender and F tank on this 1800 C, I think I may get custom plates to the order of, "F'N C". :p


Well, that's it! If you can imagine the changes, they are significant, but wouldn't make Frank a different bike. I think these changes would only enhance the style it is today, especially with more green and black.

Let me know what you think :1:
 

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Sounds pretty sweet! The F tank seam is already rolled and filled for the finished look? I'd love to have the digital display also. All your changes look to flow well, sure we'll see plenty of pics :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Ordered a paintable radiator cover

Sounds pretty sweet! The F tank seam is already rolled and filled for the finished look? I'd love to have the digital display also. All your changes look to flow well, sure we'll see plenty of pics :)

Thanks, Mike! Yeah, the F tank is seamless, and has a nice contour moving toward the seat. I just love the lines of that tank and bezel. Here's a good pic of one:



The reason I chose that bike to show the F tank miiiight be because I also just bought that radiator cover. :D

PS,

Can anyone identify what pipes those are?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Flash forward: Frank's new form, part 4?

Alright, so here's a quick and dirty set of images for what I'm hopeful will be a few of the big changes (Sumo-X Neo fender, Switchblade side covers, custom radiator cover).

 

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Shane, I like your ideas: the F tank with the Corbin chin cover would bring Frank to a whole new level. These along with that 240 Neo rear fender -- well, just wow :swoon: The Neo would certainly flow good with the front, especially if you could trim the bottom of the front fender to match the bottom of the neo rear. Ya just gotta keep the Dakota Digital gauge. That thing is so sweet. How about getting Mortikus or someone to change the background color to green ?? Pretty soon Frank with morph into the Hulk :mosh: If it was me, I'd get the new seat and wait till later on the tubular swingarm: (1) got to take care of comforts for your lady, (2) the F tank and chin cover should be a priority along with the Neo fender -- they go much further in Franks transformation. Give Frank a flow that looks fast just sitting there.
Really nice to see a young mans ideas taking a BOTM to a new level. And keep in mind, I think the rules for BOTM say you can re-enter at a later date if significant changes have been made.
:patriot:
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Shane, I like your ideas: the F tank with the Corbin chin cover would bring Frank to a whole new level. These along with that 240 Neo rear fender -- well, just wow :swoon: The Neo would certainly flow good with the front, especially if you could trim the bottom of the front fender to match the bottom of the neo rear. Ya just gotta keep the Dakota Digital gauge. That thing is so sweet. How about getting Mortikus or someone to change the background color to green ?? Pretty soon Frank with morph into the Hulk :mosh: If it was me, I'd get the new seat and wait till later on the tubular swingarm: (1) got to take care of comforts for your lady, (2) the F tank and chin cover should be a priority along with the Neo fender -- they go much further in Franks transformation. Give Frank a flow that looks fast just sitting there.
Really nice to see a young mans ideas taking a BOTM to a new level. And keep in mind, I think the rules for BOTM say you can re-enter at a later date if significant changes have been made.
:patriot:
Tom, I didn't even think about trimming the front fender to match the Neo, good idea! I'll look into that. If I keep the Dakota gauge, I won't be able to afford (or, justify, really) going to the F tank and having two dashes then. But the Dakota already has it's digits in green, so it's matching really well already.

I'm really not in a rush for the seat or swing arm. The swing arm will come on the timing of a buyer to the current swing arm, so I just have to cast a line out on that when winter comes and wait for a bite.
The 1.5 seat I'd like will only be used as a solo seat because I think it'll look better than the Solo seat on a Neo fender... Plus, it'll cover the suction cup marks (that really bother me) on the fender from the booty pad). The Solo seat and Booty Pad will then stay indefinitely attached as one seat and sit in the basement on days I ride solo, and be taken out and used only when I'm two-up. The 'passenger seat' of the 1.5 seat looks like it's hardly a seat at all, so I can't expect my girlfriend to switch from the swanky comforts of the Booty Pad to a barely-padded piece of leather, otherwise I'd probably sell the Solo and Booty and just use the 1.5.

Give Frank a flow that looks fast just sitting there.
Working hard on that, my friend! I think these changes will really get it there. If not, there'll always be new ideas and transformations! :stirpot: :icon_buil
 
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