We spend a fair amount of time talking about motorcycle building here, especially as it relates to sportbikes. If you want to build a chopper, there are all kinds of parts and pieces available but when you start thinking about a sportbike, your choices shrink a bit. If you’ve ever watched one of the chopper shows, the first thing many of them do is unwrap the new frame that just arrived and begin to build around it, modifying a few things here and there but the frame is an ordered piece and more than a few frame builders cater to the chopper building industry.
With a sportbike, what do you do? You can start from scratch if your welding and fabrication skills are up to it or you might order one of the custom frames from one of the European shops. What about OEM frames?
You can buy replacement frames if you crash your bike but why not start with a brand new OEM motorcycle frame and build from there? Manufacturers spend a lot of time, money and effort to engineer those frames and it would be pretty difficult to match what they’ve come up with. Swingarms, forks and pretty much everything else are available from the aftermarket so getting a frame puts you at the same start point as the chopper guys.
I started digging around yesterday and one online supplier a lot of you are familiar with, BikeBandit, sells tons of OEM parts to replace whatever your bike might need, … including frames. I never noticed that before. I plugged in a lot of different years, makes and models into their selection screens and not every bike I checked had a frame available in the parts list, but a lot of them, especially the sportbikes, did. That’s pretty neat.
You can get frames for cruisers, too, including Harleys, but when you can get a frame for a ZX-12R or a GSX-R1000, you’ve got a big jump on your project. You can take the frame, do a lot of smoothing and finishing before installing the engine, install whatever combination of pieces you want and you’ve got a custom sportbike.
Sometimes an answer is right in front of our faces and we don’t see it. I hadn’t thought about this route, maybe many of you already have. At any rate, it’s one possible route to your ultimate sportbike. Buy just the right pieces, build what you can and ride your own custom special. Neat.