Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We were trying to get a rat bike/bobber section started since it seems to be becoming more popular. Post up your bobber/ rat bike projects in here. post your questions in here etc. let see how this goes!




I am currently in the process of building a bobber from my 83 Honda Shadow.

Lets see what you all got!

:71baldboy:
 
G

·
We all have a mental definition of what a “rat bike” is. So I ask you this, is my bike a rat bike? It has many hand made parts as well as car parts, Harley parts and mystery parts etc. So am I disqualified because my bike is shiny? (ie - most rats are rusty or flat black)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,680 Posts
We all have a mental definition of what a “rat bike” is. So I ask you this, is my bike a rat bike? It has many hand made parts as well as car parts, Harley parts and mystery parts etc. So am I disqualified because my bike is shiny? (ie - most rats are rusty or flat black)
Most old men are rusty and........J/K:D
 

·
VeriFried
Joined
·
24 Posts
I'm all for real rat bikes , daily riden ,dirty, nasty Bikes. Not some made to be "like" a rat bike like the rat rod craze ended up with. Where they don't really get ridden, but get trailered & displayed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
i think that the way this will go is everyone keeps looking at this threat to see the bikes but none of us have a rat bike. haha, so sad, rat bikes are gnarley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Ohhh, so THIS is where the bobber/rat section is hidden! X)

Got a '78 Honda Hawk I'm messing with... Wanna do a bobber rat. Currently have it stripped to running gear, and sitting on the back tire awaiting a pair of tubes to hardtail it...

Got it running today, got the gas leaks mostly stopped. Got the front fender home and ran some fine-line on it to mark out how I wanna shape it...

Still got a wiring nightmare to remove, a custom motherboard box (dang Hondas) to configure, and a seat and rear fender to build... No idea what I'm gonna do with the rear fender just yet...

Can't post pics yet, waiting on 15 posts. >_<


- CK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,841 Posts
I'm all for real rat bikes , daily riden ,dirty, nasty Bikes. Not some made to be "like" a rat bike like the rat rod craze ended up with. Where they don't really get ridden, but get trailered & displayed.
What you described isn't what's considered a rat bike... it's just a dirty rough nasty bike that's ridden a lot. Rat bikes have intentional things done that aren't normal in the type of bike you describe. Much of what is done is contrived, especially the aging process for portions of it. Few rat bikes are truly just aged, virtually everyone I've seen has had stuff done to accentuate the rattiness.

I've done a lot of reading on rat rods mostly because I'm looking at a specific type of painting I want to use. It seems there's a bit of a divide there much like I see with another sort of bike. Some are pointing out there are two different types of rods, the weird stuff done with rat rods and the more normal but not show finished street rods, often called hot rods. One is an exaggeration of everything, the other looks more like the original hot rods of the 40s and 50s often in primer. I see this with bikes. The rat bikes exaggerate some things, like having jockey shifters with weird handles or levers, distressed look parts that are made that way, off the wall stuff is quite common and much of the work isn't really functionally sensible. There is even intentional rusting like the rat rods do. Wild enough, there is now a trend with some rat rod guys to use fiberglass bodies (steel ones aren't that common in the 30s models) drill/hacking "rust holes" in them and paint along with surface preps that imitates surface rust and rusted edges.
Much like the cars, many rat bikes are built somewhat dysfunctional. Unusual bend bars with cramped or stretched ergonomics. Those with fat oversize front tires work against handling, as do the 2" travel shortened front and hard tail or short travel rear ends are far from the hot trick for ridability. They're sort of an anti-establishment statement of the builder/rider.

I will also point out there are places for all, but the hot rod bikes. These are the type of bikes like the original superbikes and similar modified but not quite fitting other categories of bikes. They aren't ratted out, they may just be a bit rough around the edges and are "frequent fliers" - aka they're ridden regularly. A production version was the old Nighthawk S and the early GPz550/750/1100 and ELR. This could also include some of the milder customizing of standard bikes, but not including customs or cruisers of any sort. They have their niche. They're also not quite clubman or cafe bikes either, just reworked standards and some early customs modified to become more standard in layout. I've often spoken of the "hot rod" bikes like those old Superbikes were and the in-line/vert twin/etc bikes of the early 70s with maybe superbike bars, a set of pipes, a semi or non stock paint job, and custom seat. They have no place in the areas except vintage and not all are. The hot rod bikes don't lose function for aesthetics, they just are modified and almost always "in process".

That's kind of been the case with my SR500, but now it fits the street/tracker niche. My Zephyr falls in the hot rod bike zone I speak of, not being sport with the fairing and clip ons and old enough in design and style to fall outside the current standard/naked bike definitions. It also described the factory look of the Nighthawk S with the unusual bodywork, which is almost not quite matching up, but works with the graphics.

I know it's breaking things down to niches, but I like that for the most part. Not that it's to divide riders, just to be able to describe what one is doing.

Of course those niches get blurred a bit depending on perceptions. Some people see street/trackers as bikes with fat tires where I see them as exactly what they started as... guys took flat trackers and put them on the street. I had several friends do that before the term street/tracker ever existed, back in 1975. One even went from being built as a flat tracker with street equipment to actually being put on a flat track competitively, because it had both a Champion frame and flat track suspension and a built engine. Now it seems someone lowers forks, sticks on fat tires and may even lower the suspension and call it a street/tracker. Frequently those in the grey zone are more brat/bobber/rat niches than tracker, but whatever...
 

·
Sickle Punk
Joined
·
964 Posts
I've got a 1981 GS550 rat bobber. gotta take some pics, gonna get some cones and a 4-1 exhaust for it too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
WOOHOO!! Over 15 posts!!! Time for some PICS!!!



Factory... This is how she looked when we got her in the shed...


10 minutes' worth of work. Already looking worlds better!!! Yes, the gear shift lever is facing straight-down. No idea how/why, but it is...


Got that banana seat bracket cleaned off, getting ready for some hardtailing... This was last night, tonight is weld night...

And that's about as far as I got...

Got a pair of seat buns out of a Ford Ranger seat today, so I've got PLENTY of seat foam to pad a seat pan... Once I get the chunk of cardboard mocked up to about what will fit, I'll have to go get some steel and make a pan, then cut up a small layer of foam for it... Don't need anything crazy, just something that's not gonna kill my ass every time I hit a hard bump...

This is what 80 bucks gets ya. ;)


- CK
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
10,756 Posts
Looks like quite a project!, but looks like fun. I am interested on how you are going to make it a hardtail. Keep the pictures coming.
 

·
VeriFried
Joined
·
24 Posts
What you described isn't what's considered a rat bike... it's just a dirty rough nasty bike that's ridden a lot. Rat bikes have intentional things done that aren't normal in the type of bike you describe. Much of what is done is contrived, especially the aging process for portions of it. Few rat bikes are truly just aged, virtually everyone I've seen has had stuff done to accentuate the rattiness.
I've done a lot of reading on rat rods mostly because I'm looking at a specific type of painting I want to use. It seems there's a bit of a divide there much like I see with another sort of bike. Some are pointing out there are two different types of rods, the weird stuff done with rat rods and the more normal but not show finished street rods, often called hot rods. One is an exaggeration of everything, the other looks more like the original hot rods of the 40s and 50s often in primer. I see this with bikes. The rat bikes exaggerate some things, like having jockey shifters with weird handles or levers, distressed look parts that are made that way, off the wall stuff is quite common and much of the work isn't really functionally sensible. There is even intentional rusting like the rat rods do. Wild enough, there is now a trend with some rat rod guys to use fiberglass bodies (steel ones aren't that common in the 30s models) drill/hacking "rust holes" in them and paint along with surface preps that imitates surface rust and rusted edges.
Much like the cars, many rat bikes are built somewhat dysfunctional. Unusual bend bars with cramped or stretched ergonomics. Those with fat oversize front tires work against handling, as do the 2" travel shortened front and hard tail or short travel rear ends are far from the hot trick for ridability. They're sort of an anti-establishment statement of the builder/rider.

I will also point out there are places for all, but the hot rod bikes. These are the type of bikes like the original superbikes and similar modified but not quite fitting other categories of bikes. They aren't ratted out, they may just be a bit rough around the edges and are "frequent fliers" - aka they're ridden regularly. A production version was the old Nighthawk S and the early GPz550/750/1100 and ELR. This could also include some of the milder customizing of standard bikes, but not including customs or cruisers of any sort. They have their niche. They're also not quite clubman or cafe bikes either, just reworked standards and some early customs modified to become more standard in layout. I've often spoken of the "hot rod" bikes like those old Superbikes were and the in-line/vert twin/etc bikes of the early 70s with maybe superbike bars, a set of pipes, a semi or non stock paint job, and custom seat. They have no place in the areas except vintage and not all are. The hot rod bikes don't lose function for aesthetics, they just are modified and almost always "in process".

That's kind of been the case with my SR500, but now it fits the street/tracker niche. My Zephyr falls in the hot rod bike zone I speak of, not being sport with the fairing and clip ons and old enough in design and style to fall outside the current standard/naked bike definitions. It also described the factory look of the Nighthawk S with the unusual bodywork, which is almost not quite matching up, but works with the graphics.

I know it's breaking things down to niches, but I like that for the most part. Not that it's to divide riders, just to be able to describe what one is doing.

Of course those niches get blurred a bit depending on perceptions. Some people see street/trackers as bikes with fat tires where I see them as exactly what they started as... guys took flat trackers and put them on the street. I had several friends do that before the term street/tracker ever existed, back in 1975. One even went from being built as a flat tracker with street equipment to actually being put on a flat track competitively, because it had both a Champion frame and flat track suspension and a built engine. Now it seems someone lowers forks, sticks on fat tires and may even lower the suspension and call it a street/tracker. Frequently those in the grey zone are more brat/bobber/rat niches than tracker, but whatever...
markk53, the statement you made that I underlined/bold/hi-lighted is what I was implying, I just didn't want to write a hole bunch of detail......but thank god, you did :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Enough bullshootin'! MORE PICS!!!



Got it hardtailed tonight... Didn't get a pic of both bars installed...

Badlands: THIS is how I planned to hardtail it:


Got a bunch of seat foam from a junk Ranger seat today, gonna use that to pad the seat a bit, as soon as I build the pan and such...

Next up, moving the controls to where they're supposed to be, and maybe even some fender work... Got the lines taped out on the fenders, but I don't know if I wanna keep 'em or not. Since the fenders are chromed, I have to take them into work and scrub them with some 80-grit, hoping paint will stick to them. Gonna have to run epoxy or etch primer, I suppose.

Or screw with wiring... Not sure yet...

Just cuz it's a rat doesn't mean I can't do it right... ;)


- CK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Got some more work done to 'er...











Got some bracketry cleaned off, electronic components mounted on a new flat-stock bracket under the custom seat that still needs a spot for registration/insurance and padding and leather cover, got the swooped (factory) end-bar of the frame mounted to the swingarm because it was mounted to bracketry that had to be sanitized, and got some air filters on it, so it's got some intake pressure. Runs a hell of a lot better with the filters.

Still needs lights, rear fender, headlight bucket, about 300 feet of excess wire cleaned out, bars straightened, grips reinstalled, kill-switch reconfooberated, plate mount, a bit more frame stiffening, seat finished, kickstand figured out, and forward controls...


- CK
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top