ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/13/21 8:57 p.m.

I'll try to make a long story short. I rode motorcycles as a teen and then quit. My best friend twisted my arm a little to get me back into riding about a decade ago, and the return to motorcycling has been one of my greatest joys and the best things about my adult life. I appreciate his nudge to get me back on (motorized) two wheels, and riding together was tons of fun.

We are both mid-40's now, and not getting younger. His bad hip has been slowly getting worse and worse, and he is on the cusp of moving across the country, with plans to get a hip replacement and live with family while he is recouping. He had to give up riding a while back, which I think pained him quite a bit. He could no longer swing his leg over a tall Enduro, and could still ride but struggled enough with sport bikes that it seemed I'll-advised. When he did, he voluntarily sold me his most-prized bike at $2-2.5K under market, saying that he wanted it to go to a good home, and that someday he might buy a bike from me on a sweetheart deal.

I really miss riding together, and he expressed a desire to buy one of my bikes as a "carrot" to spur him on with his surgery and recovery. I figured win-win for me, help him out, repay any debt I might have, and we can get back to riding together.

I offered up my VFR800 I was thinking of selling. I told him $1800, which seemed like good deal. He hemmed and hawed, and we didn't complete the deal, half a year passed, and then I dumped another several thousand into that bike and fell in love with it. It is quite clean and I bought it from a anal-retentive original owner.

My friend is a form-over-function guy who embraces a ratty/well-used look, and sees no reason to wash, polish, shine anything, so he tends to trash nice stuff. He came back wanting the same $1800 deal I'd offered earlier, before the upgrades, which was beyond the statute of limitations as far as I was concerned, which he seemed to understand.
 

I picked up a cheap slightly ratty Honda VFR800 project with an electrical gremlin, some new parts included, and a few choice parts installed (Heli Bars, Sargent Seat, Micron exhaust, aftermarket stator, anniversary RWB paint job) with the intent of fixing it up mechanically, if not cosmetically, for his birthday.

His birthday came and went, and I didn't get the bike done. Now he has lost his job, is starting down the barrel of a lease expiring in three weeks, and he is planning to move cross-country to live with family while taking care of his health.

I clued him into the plan for the bike, and we have been chipping away at it on my weekends. We replaced a cracked subframe, disassembled and properly reassembled the exhaust that was falling apart, and replaced all the locks. It isn't running yet, and time is ticking down for his move. Today we dove in and disassembled enough to start checking the harness, grounds, etc. and found a crack in the aluminum frame:

 


 

I'm now into this project for more than grand, but less than two. Runners of the RC46 seem to list for $3-7K depending on condition, with $4-4.5K being average around here. I figure the hulk we have is $2K+ if parted, but probably only a few hundred as it sits. We're not likely to be able to source, buy, and swap a titled frame before his move (these are fairly complex bikes) so if we go this route, he will have moved, the bulk of the labor is on me, and then we still have to get it across the country. He suggested it would be fun to fly back once we're both vaccinated and he's had his hip done, and I could join him for the first couple days of the ride before turning back, which could be true, but involves a fair number of ifs at this point.

I could also part this thing and send him the money to buy a bike in Florida...the gesture is a bit diminished and I still have a lot of work ahead of me with the disassembly and parting, but perhaps less than a rebuild.

Or I could dump it as-is for cheap and offer to buy (or help buy) a bike for him, which could get more complicated/sticky than me just giving him a bike...but it saves me time.

I could also troll eBay and local wrecking yards for a frame and fix it to sell it complete or ship it to him, but lots of work, and really hard to make a case for economically.

 

Advice?

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
4/14/21 6:35 a.m.

Cut your losses on that thing. Part it, then split the money with him. Done. Too many moving parts in the other scenarios IMO.

 

APEowner
APEowner Dork
4/14/21 9:36 a.m.

I think it comes down to how much you need the money and the space that the bike is consuming and how much you enjoy working on it.  If you're good on cash and space then I suggest keeping it and picking away at it as time and interest allows.  It's existence and the thought of a someday road trip may be enough to help your friend through this rough patch.

 

wae
wae UberDork
4/14/21 9:43 a.m.

In the spirit of keeping it as a friendship-enhancing process, are there any jobs that could be done remotely?  For example, could you send the carbs with him and he could rebuild them while you're working on the frame and he could ship them back when they're ready?  Or other things along those lines?  Just trying to think of some way for you both to remain engaged in the project....

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
4/14/21 9:49 a.m.

If he has yet to have the surgery and the recovery is ahead, then I would argue that a project brings more value than a finished bike to have parked in the shed. Projects, for me at least, have always given me something to look forward to the next day when I put my head on the pillow. 

I don't know your $$$ situation but if there is a way for both you of you to have some skin in the game and work towards getting your buddy the bike he looks forward to, that is the path I would pursue. 

 

Part what you got and refocus. Time is on your side.

 

 

Pete

 

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
4/14/21 11:21 a.m.

Difficult situation for sure. 

Regarding that crack, that looks like a complete separation. Can you show more of the crack and where it is on the frame? I wonder about grinding a big chamfer in it and welding it back up with a few passes. That sort of suggestion usually brings out a bunch of panty bunchers and pearl clutchers but it's only metal. If you can salvage this frame, that would put you back on track to just get it mechanically restored and have a working bike. 

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
4/14/21 12:19 p.m.

I have full vfr800 bike I got off this board that is just hanging out in my shed. I only glanced at this but will read closer later. Point is that I have everything that you likely need. 
 

edit: read over this. I have a complete 2004 (I think) vfr800 that I have titled in my name that I am willing to sell you whatever you need if that is the direction you want to go. It was pulled off the road for electrical issues and has just been sitting in my shed ever since. Has upgraded front forks (no idea what kind). It came from a GRMer who purchased new. 

Flynlow (FS)
Flynlow (FS) HalfDork
4/14/21 5:17 p.m.

I'd focus less on the bike repair jobs and more on the 2-3 day cross country trip idea.  That's what would get me amped about riding again.  Parks to camp, breweries to visit after getting into town after a long ride, exciting stopovers on the route. 

Once that's firmly in place, figure out if the VFR can be salvaged or if setting up on another "equivalent but better" bike would be a good option for the trip you guys already have laid out.  SV650, Triumph Bonneville, CB1100, whatever. 

 

Not sure if your friend is of the same mindset.

Patientzero
Patientzero HalfDork
4/14/21 6:10 p.m.

Unless there's something I'm not aware of, why can't the frame be repaired? 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/14/21 11:57 p.m.

Thanks to all for the ideas and suggestions!

Fortunately, I'm good enough on cash that I've got options. As far as space goes, I could probably make space for it, as it isn't car-sized, but I don't want to be tripping over it for years.

I like the suggestions of focusing on the project and the potential for a trip, as those are the experiences that contribute to the enjoyable part of a friendship. If we/I fix it from now into after he's moved, we still have the option of figuring out a trip or shipping, or selling it and sending him some money to buy a bike there, so the only thing lost is time.

Regarding repair, the main frame broken completely through at the upper left back side...just below the back of the gas tank or the front of the seat, above the mount for the rear suspension and the left footpeg. The frame is aluminum, so a successful weld would need to be very clean and TIGed, and doing that kind of repair would ideally involve heat-treating after repair to retain full strength. Would having it repaired with no heat treatment cause the sky to fall? Probably not. I don't have a TIG, so does paying for that repair on potentially high-mileage sport-tourer make sense when used non-broken frames sell for $150-$500 on eBay? Probably not...but then I'm back to putting the time into a frame swap.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
4/15/21 6:40 a.m.
singleslammer said:

I have full vfr800 bike I got off this board that is just hanging out in my shed. I only glanced at this but will read closer later. Point is that I have everything that you likely need. 
 

edit: read over this. I have a complete 2004 (I think) vfr800 that I have titled in my name that I am willing to sell you whatever you need if that is the direction you want to go. It was pulled off the road for electrical issues and has just been sitting in my shed ever since. Has upgraded front forks (no idea what kind). It came from a GRMer who purchased new. 

I'll fill in details (I'm the PO on this one); 2004 VFR800 in Italian Red and bodywork is pretty good but not great.  Sargent seat, electrical issues, had the forks rebuilt about 10k miles before it was taken off the road and sprung + valved for a rider weight of around 200lbs.  Rear shock is a CBR929 unit sprung for same weight (I think the spring is actually too stiff as I could not get sag & free weight numbers right, would suggest trying a different spring).  Aftermarket stator because it's a stupid VTEC VFR so it's eaten a couple of stators over the years.  Current one has maybe 5k miles on it so it's good for at least another 10k.  Peg drop blocks and bar lift spacers for a little more stretch out room.  56k miles.

I almost want to buy this bike back, honestly, which is both stupid and potentially awesome in my mind.  But  if it makes this other project a real situation then by all means sell it on.  I did buy it brand new so any other questions let me know.  These are great bikes but they're complex as mentioned.

The one upside I see to doing a frame swap is that you will have your hands on every aspect of the bike.  Chances to make mistakes, and it's time sunk, but it's also a great way to go through everything.  Because you have to. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
4/15/21 6:55 a.m.

I think broken bikes are worth keeping around to generate dreams. They represent possibility and that gives two friends something to bond over even if the bike sits completely untouched for years. 

If it's not in the way, and it can sit, just let it sit. Having your buddy know it's their waiting for him to heal is one hell of a special gift. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
4/16/21 8:29 p.m.

That looks like an early-2000s Honda aluminum frame ugly robot weld for sure. On the CRs they'd have the welds you can see easily done by people but the ones you couldn't were done by robots and nasty.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/16/21 9:30 p.m.

In reply to singleslammer :

Thank you for the generous offer! Given that both of our bikes have electrical gremlins, and mine also has a broken frame, it seems like the upsides to your bike are the (presumably) solid frame, the (probably) better condition bodywork, and the upgraded suspension. Mine has a Sargent seat and heli bars on it already, plus a Micron exhaust, and a rear luggage rack, and with either bike, I've got to solve the electrical bugaboos and go through wearing parts, rubber bits, fluids, etc. Location-wise, we have some distance between us. My buddy and I are currently in Portland, OR, and he is moving to the Miami area.

It seems like we might want to talk if you are parting the bike, or if you are interested in selling complete in a bargain price range where shipping it halfway across the country makes some financial sense...buy your bike, ship it here, marry the best of both, and part the remainders to defray the cost...or if you are parting it, I'd be interested in the frame/title and the upgraded suspension bits...or perhaps a bare rolling chassis, leaving you engine, bodywork, trim, lights, switchgear, seat, wiring, brakes to part out yourself.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more. I'm not offended if there doesn't seem to be significant enough overlap between our individual interests...it sounds like pres589 might also be interested in buying it back complete with a bit of arm twisting. laugh

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
4/16/21 9:40 p.m.

Currently I'm living in a hotel in Wichita so I'm not really in a position to buy it back.  You know, as often happens to many of us. 

If I don't have my life together to get it back then it wasn't meant to be.  If I do get my life back together, and it's still there, maybe I'll give this the effort required.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/16/21 11:09 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

Sending some positive thoughts your way! I hope things start improving for you soon, and you have a little room in your life to get back the fun stuff. Even if your old bike doesn't pan out, my recent internet searches point towards a number of VFRs available at a variety of price points from project with a capital P, to low-mileage creampuffs, so I'm sure there's one out there for you when you're ready.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) UberDork
4/17/21 8:57 a.m.

Parts bike all the way, weather the one mentioned, or another. Those gremlins make for cheap donor bikes. If the one you're keeping is the same model, the left-overs will benefit you greatly. 

...unless you want to cut and run. Snowdoggies Concourse was a heck of a deal, and anvil reliable-maybe still available? If not, there are cheap options out there for him, just gotta keep looking.

link

CJ (FS)
CJ (FS) HalfDork
4/17/21 12:08 p.m.

I am not a VFR800 guy, but would this be a cheap solution?  $258 OBO with a salvage title and BOS.  Free shipping.

Frame

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
4/17/21 8:48 p.m.

That frame on ebay should totally work.  I would go that route unless the idea of parting out a VFR and selling all of the un-needed stuff sounds like fun. 

As for finding another VFR800, if I didn't get my own bike back, I'd go with a 5th gen next time around.  No VTEC (and the stators don't die because of it) and gear driven cams instead of chains.  Not quite as pretty but there are solutions for that including not caring.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/19/21 7:19 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

The 5th-gen has plenty of die-hard proponents, but I don't dig the looks, don't mind the VTEC on the 6th gen, and I have plenty of carbed bikes already, so EFI is a welcome bonus of the 6th-gen. It seems that with an upgrade to the regulator/rectifier, stators seem to have a more reasonable life on the VTEC models. I wouldn't fault you at all for getting the 5th-gen...the cam gear whine is pretty cool. My dad used to have a CB-1 and the cam-gear sound was awesome!

I've daydreamed before about buying a rough 8th-gen for the revised suspension/brakes/wheels/electrical and doing a mash-up on my good 6th-gen, using the 6th-gen bodywork and under tail exhaust. The frames and engines are essentially the same from what I can tell. Maybe someday...

In any case, back to the project at hand, a cheap eBay frame with salvage title is on the way, which may not be the simplest fix, but also isn't the most complex, and still allows for future adventures.

Thanks to all for the help and suggestions!

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