Ever wondered what it takes to make your own chopper? Making one is not that difficult after all! All you need is some patience and a few necessary equipment. In this article, you’ll learn how to build a motorcycle frame. Have a look!
To build your own motorcycle, you can either choose to build your custom bike using kits available in the market, or make the entire thing yourself, from scratch. If you haven’t tried making a motorcycle before, then it is advisable that you begin making one using a custom motorcycle kit. Building a bike from scratch is not as easy for first timers as it sounds. It requires a lot of meticulous effort from your side and allows scope for little or no mistakes.
On the other hand, if you get a custom motorcycle kit, then all you need to do is assemble the parts as per the instructions given. It does not require much time and if you make any mistakes in assembling the parts, you can always start afresh. However, if you are convinced that nothing beats a custom-made bike than the one that’s made from scratch, then kudos to you! To make a bike, you must begin with making the frame.
The frame of a motorcycle is the base that holds all the parts of the motorcycle together, and maintains the correct alignment of the wheels. When making a motorcycle from scratch, the first thing that you’ll need is a jig. A jig, or a frame jig as it is sometimes referred to, is a structure that is used to hold the metal parts of the motorcycle frame in place during the process of welding. The jig is the skeletal layout on which you need to place the metal parts and weld them together.
You can order for a jig with a layout that is in accordance with the type of frame you wish to make for your custom bike. You can choose from a variety of designs in frames such as hard-tailed, soft-tailed, rigid, swing arm, and plunger frames, among others. Once you have a frame jig with you, you can start giving shape to the frame. Here’s how.
Steps to Build a Motorcycle Frame
Before you start on your endeavor of making a motorcycle frame, you must consider the fact that you need to be adept at tasks such as cutting the metal and welding the different parts together. If you are not skilled at tasks such as these, then you need to take the help of someone who is skilled enough to help you. Here we’ll learn to build a rigid motorcycle frame as it is the easiest to build. In order to build your very own motorcycle frame at home, there’s a small list of things that you must have.
- Frame jig
- Tube bender
- Long steel tubes (1.25″ diameter and 10 gauge thick)
- Measuring tape
- Welding gun
- A saw
- Nuts and bolts
- Engine plates
- Steering neck
- Safety gear to protect your hands and eyes
Now that you know what are the things you need, let’s move on to the procedure of making a motorcycle frame. Follow the steps given below.
Step 1: Creating the Design
The first step is to draw the design you want, on a piece of paper. Use your imagination and make a rough sketch and mention the specifications on the drawing. You need to specify things such as the rake (angle of the steering head), stretch, strength, trail, wheel base(distance between the center of the wheels), etc. You can even download technical blueprints from the Web to serve your purpose. Once you have the sketch ready, you can put it up before you for reference.
Step 2: Taking Measurements
The next step is to measure the length of the various parts and mark them on the steel tube. Use the protractor to measure the rake angle and the angle of the neck. Normally the rake angle is close to 40 degrees (measured from a vertical line drawn through the center of the neck). As for the axle heights, it depends on the wheels you use. Let’s consider you’re using 21″ front wheel and 18″ rear wheels. In that case, the front and rear axle heights will be 10.5″ and 9″ respectively. Now, place the engine on the frame jig to locate the positions of the engine plates. Remember to hold it a little above the jig to account for the thickness of the frame tube. You can try aligning the neck to decide the angle of the downtubes. Let’s consider the angle of the downtubes to be 70 degrees.
Step 2: Cutting the Parts
Now that you have all the measurements ready with you, the next step is to cut the parts using the saw. Remember to cut the pieces a few inches longer than the desired length. This is to allow for the pieces to be cut short if need be, in case of errors during welding. You need to cut pieces to form the rear axle, center brace, steering yolk, the downtubes, the top rails and the bottom rails.
Step 3: Welding the Parts
Before you begin welding the parts using a welding gun, make it a point to wear protective gear. Wear goggles to protect your eyes and gloves to protect your hands from the sparks during welding. Place the pieces along the jig and start welding. First of all, start with the lower rails of the frame. After you’re done with the welding, fix the nuts and bolts to the engine plates. This completes the basic structure of your motorcycle frame.
Step 4: Adding the Finishing Touches
Once you have finished with the basic structure, use the sandpaper to file the joints to make them appear smooth. Also, you can add fittings and accessories of your choice. All you need to do after this is to fix the seat and engine. If you know how to paint a motorcycle, paint it in a color of your choice and voilà! Your attractive brand new bike is ready for a ride!
Thus, you see that building a motorcycle frame is not as difficult as it seems. If you are not skilled enough at tasks such as welding and metal-cutting, you can still have a customized bike of your own. All you need to do is to get an old bike and renovate it to give it a look of your choice! This may appear easier and takes less time. So, go ahead and give your bike a new look or better still, make a new one to suit your tastes!