Picked up in December 2023, this S65 has definitely seen much better days. The bike was found half covered in dirt and leaves at a friends collector salvage yard. Initially, I just wanted to see what it was, as the rear wheel was covered up and thorny vines were protected it from where it lay.
When the yard owner said I could have it, I figured it was worth dragging home to see what condition the rest of it may be in. Interestingly enough, the actual frame is in pretty good condition, with no big rust through holes. The rear wheel was locked up, and the rear rim was rusted away for the most part. The front wheel rolled, but the rim that was under the dirt is completed rusted through. The front hub appears to be in good shape, we will see about the back hub sometime in the future.
Once the rusted up seat pan was pulled off, as well as the gas tank, one can see the smooth flowing lines of the frame much better. Unfortunately the bike had been laying on it’s right side, so that side is much worse off than the other, especially the gas tank, which has been deemed irreparable. Additionally the right half of the seat pan is rusted away, so that is unlikely to be reused.
After some initial searches for other S65’s, it appears there are only a handful of custom builds, with most being originals or restorations. Two customs stand out, and both of those are land speed record designs. Initially I didn’t want to make yet another similar design, but then again, that smooth frame needs to be seen, and the speedster/board tracker/land speed look is appeasing for this design. Realizing that a stock gas tank is impossible to find affordable, the bare frame and minimalist concept has taken hold.
With the front forks off the bike and sand blasted, it was pretty apparent the bike had taken a hard hit in the nose and had been semi repaired. I pulled out a couple of dents and found a few cracks that will be welded up. Additionally some additional welding will be done once the forks are deemed straight to strengthen things up. With this design in mind, the bike will be built as a speedster/land speed look, although there are no exact plans for a power plant yet.
The front shocks were actually not as bad as expected and came apart without too much trouble. After disassembly, they were treated to some rust remover, then sand blasted and either painted or clear coated with ceramic paint. The lower chrome covers were not too bad, so they were cleaned and then refinished with some 0000 steel wool. The insides of the covers were painted to stop the rust and all was reassembled.
There were a few bushings that were beyond use, so they were scanned or designed in CAD and then 3D printed with white TPU. The TPU should be must more durable than the rubber for some time to come, and provides less cushion, which will be better for this build.
There may be more TPU parts as the bike build process continues as it’s cheap and easier to get than some of the original equipment items.
Next Steps – Full Tear Down
Next the rest of the bike will be torn apart, which may present it’s own challenged as the kick stand and foot brake are rusted solid together, and the rear wheel hub may be difficult to pull apart. I’ve already order some rims and spokes and will be rebuilding the wheels due to the horrible rust and the extremely high prices of original full wheels.