When I was in college I owned a Kawasaki 454 and loved riding that bike. It is the bike that I learned on and got my license with. That was 20 years ago. That motorcycle was sold to pay bills and rent when I got out of college. Since that time a motorcycle has always taken back seat to other needs. But the desire to ride never went away. For years I have been watching biker build offs and the guys at Orange County Choppers on television. I often searched eBay dreaming of getting a bike, but the money always seemed to go to something else. Then one day I found a 454 for sale for $500 on eBay. I found myself hitting the bid now button. It was a basket case, but I saw what it could be. It wasn’t a Harley, but I knew it could turn heads and would be a fun bike.
Now that the bike was running and cleaned up, it was time to do some customization.
Notice here too that the front mag wheels were sand blasted. Parts of them were then buffed out to a chrome shine.
A nice upgrade to the look is covering the old black cables with stainless steel mesh. The least expensive way to do this is to get stainless steel covered water lines from Home Depot. You can easily remove the mesh from the plastic tubing and then slip it over your cables. This really looks sharp and protects your cables. You can also see the new turn signals in this photo.
I found this fender for sale on eBay. It is a nice gel coated heavy fiberglass fender. I am not sure what it was originally designed for, but with some modifications I can see it looking nice on my bike.
I wanted the passenger seat to be raised a bit and I also wanted something to mount my tail light to. I used the piece of fender that had been cut out to made this part. Then end of this piece was fiberglassed for the taillight.
The fender is then airbrushed with the real fire flames.
The next step in this project is to turn it into a real chopper by extending the forks. Doing this is not as easy as just putting long tubes in. Care must be taken with the geometry at this point. You need to look closely at the triple T’s and their connection to the frame. You need to calculate out the rake and trail that the geometry creates. You want to extend the forks forward and make sure you keep positive trail, but not so much that it makes it hard to steel. If you alter the tripple T’s instead of the steering neck, its easy to end up with negative trail which is very unstable.
If you would like to know more about rake and trail this link is a good start. Click here