Jade - Daily Ripper - Motorcycle Build

Well I decided I wanted to get a motorcycle. Pretty much my whole life I have been scared of motorcycles. Not from the bikes themselves, just the shear madness I know I would end up doing on a motorcycle. Oh how fast does that go? Can you jump it? Race? and so on. I would have killed myself, when I was younger. Now of days, I have mellowed out from all that, for the more part. I still enjoy a good race and to put the hammer down, but I am a cruiser. I own/drive a Jeep Wrangler, not a fast vehicle at all lol. The Jeep is super capable off-road, but it's heavy and sucks MPG wise.. Keep in mind, it's my daily driver. So I started looking into my options for a new daily driver. I landed on a 200-400cc motorcycle. Something smaller I can throw around, easy to work on, part availability around the world, under 300lb, and something I could build into an awesome adventure bike.

Searched for a few months on what kind of bike I really wanted. I knew I didn't want to just get a dirt bike or dual sport. I want to still able to drive this on open roads. I want to cruise it, toss it on the back of the Jeep, able to haul my SUP/Mountain Bike/Passenger, and still able to handle minor off-roading. I have been drawn towards a scrambler and/or cafe racer builds. Knobby tires, stripped down, upgraded suspension, custom built rack system, and do all the work myself. I want to know this baby inside and out. So I started searching for what was for sale. I contacted multiple people about bikes, each fell through for their own reason. Then, I came across this 1981 Yamaha SR250 (Exciter) on Facebook Marketplace. Pictures looked clean. Owner stated it starts, runs well, new battery, gas, and clean title. Contacted the owner and she was available that night. My dad and I drove over to check it out. Again, this is my first bike ever. My dad has years of motorcycle experience, with Yamaha too, and I wanted him there for sure. He said, "Looks/runs well", which it really did. Little negotiation on the price, thankfully came in lower which is great! I can use that for parts. I handed her the cash, she handed me the title, and said she could drop it off later this week. Super nice of her to drop it off! We would of had to drive it home, well more like my dad would. I don't know how to drive a motorcycle, yet.

The Delivery!

Wahooo!!! Delivery day is here! So damn excited for this next capture. Daily Ripper Motorcycle Build has just started!

Well it's still pretty dang cold out and snow on the ground. So no riding today. Ha I still don't even know how to ride hahaha. My Jeep is a manual and I have driven a 4 wheeler (manual) but that was a long time ago. I am treating myself as brand spanking new to riding. First steps, take the test to get my permit. Then, wait for motorcycle training course and get my licenses. Nice part about the course is how they teach you how to ride and you get your licenses at the ends, for like $215 on their bikes. I can start to work on the bike, order parts, figure out final details for paint, get a helmet, and all that other stuff. Bike runs well, so mostly doing cosmetic/design, rack, and handling upgrades. As stuff starts to happen or break, I will then rebuild, replace, or upgrade those parts, just like I do on my Jeep. This will be a slow build. More than likely I will go through most of the summer without doing a thing. Really learn the bike, to figured out exactly what changes I need to make. 

The Design

I wanted to create something different. Something that speaks to me and my adventures. So I am infusing a Cafe style with an adventure bike. I wanted all black everything. That soon turned into a stencil and a green tank, but everything else black. But first I need to see how the my Nala fits on the back. This bike has to allow me to access rivers, lakes, or whatever I please. Plus be my daily.

The Breakdown

With the design figured out, it is time to start breaking it all down. Getting everything off the bike, and start working on new turn signals, new bars, and ordering all the parts. 

The Front and Rear Ends

I tackled the front end first. Figured it was going to be pretty straight forward. Get the wheel off, check/clean up the brakes, prep, and paint. Used high-temp paint on the drums and standard paint on everything else. Down the road I might upgrade the rims and put on knobby tires, current ones are in good shape so I might as well get as many miles out of them as I can.


This was going to be the biggest time consumer. I wanted to make sure I do it right, when I don't have a clue what I am doing. Started off with removing the clear off the tank. Then filled in the holes/dents on the side, had to do two coats, primer, then get the base black layer on. After that, I attached my hand cut out stencil and hit it with the metallic green (my Jeep) paint. Really gave it the look I was going for. Once dry I hit it with a shit ton of clear to protect it, since my legs will be against it all the time.

Few clear drips and some areas that needed some additional layers, where my knees are against the tank. So I wanted to wet sand that those spots down, smooth it out, and hit it with more clear

Details, Intake, and Battery

This was going to be the fun part. For details I wanted to replace all the shitty phillips bolts, which someone stripped most of them out.. I replaced them with black hex heads. Got most of them off, ones I left I am leaving for my winter project or rebuilding the engine. 

Intake I am getting a performance kit from Jadus Motorcycle Parts, out of Sweden. I came across Jakes build, reached out to him, and he provided me a ton of information! I ended up ordering a bunch of parts from him! By bunch I mean pretty much everything I am doing lol. This include this Tidy Triangle with battery relocation, tank leveling kit, and cafe seat. 

Safety First!

So again, I have never driven a motorcycle. That was true until 5/19/18 which I took a three day Motorcycle Training Course. I took the Basic Rider Course which is 1 night in the class room, 2 days course work actually learning how to drive a motorcycle, and finish with an endorsement exam.

You get to use their bikes, which is super nice since mine is still in pieces hahah. This is also helpful so you are not there with a super big bike trying to manhandle it around the course, that is what the advance classes are for. I have got to say this course was amazing! I picked up on how to work the clutch right away, helps I drive a manual Jeep. A lot of the challenges and obstacles were right up my ally too, since I have a mountain biking background. Most of the setup, approach, and whatnot transfers from mountain biking to riding a motorcycle.

It was a mixed experience from others like me, with no experience on a bike, to those that have been riding for years but never got the endorsement. Even with experience you can always learn something new, typically something you overlook. I always like to go in thinking I know nothing at all, which in this case that was true. It was a great mix and I am happy to see everyone passed the exam, including myself :)

There are a lot of good habits they drill into your head to become a sound driver. I am super happy I took the course and might end up taking some of they more advance classes too, just want some more road time under my belt. Can never have to much safety training!

Took the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Foundation - Basic Ridercourse this past weekend. 1 night classroom, two days driving course, and finish with my endorsement test! Such a sweet program and I learned a ton! This was also the first time I ever drove a motorcycle!

The Test Ride and First Cruise

Bolted the exhaust on and fired her up! Needed a little starting fluid to turn over, tweak the idle screw, but she was running without an issue. I took it down the block to make sure it shifts and and everything. That is when I noticed the clutch lever was in a horrible position. Fingers slipped off it with ease and I ended up having to drive through someones yard hahaha. Came to a stop, down shifted to 1, and drove it back home. Changed the position of the levers and hit the road. Cruised up to a local lake and wend on some curvy roads I enjoyed cruising with my Jeep/cars. I got to say, I totally fell in LOVE! The connection with the road, open air, and knowing I'm riding something I built just felt amazing. Did a little photo shot, but there will be plenty more photos to come :)

Adventure bike on the adventure rig :)  

Oh man I have been looking forward to this moment. My two builds together waiting for an adventure. I am hoping to make something happen this year, but for sure spring 2019 it will be hitting one hell of an adventure :)

Ready to SUP!!! 

Just tested out how well this setup works. Took it out for a cruise, got it up to 60 MPH, corners, and wind gusts. Held up like a champ the whole time. Helps it is not much weight. Have my 12' 6" Hala inflatable stand up paddle board, PFD, paddle shoes, pump, and paddle, with still plenty of space for a few others pieces of gear, if needed. I have been looking forward to this moment for some time! Now I can run rivers solo and take the bike after work for a quick paddle. 

New Rubbers :)

I knew I needed new tires, but I was having a hell of time finding a replacement rear tire. Not many 16" rims out there. Front was easy, 18" wheels are all over the place. I reached out to Jake for idea, which he suggested a new wheel set. I was about to pull the trigger but then came across a rear tires and front matched. So I got those and saved the $700+ i would have spend on new wheel sets. I wanted to do these tires by hand too, since people all over the world have to do it like that. Front was easy to knock out, rear was a bitch. Ended up taking it to a shop and had them install it for me. Afterwards, I gave them a fresh coat of paint and installed them back onto the bike. Obviously, took her out for a rip to see how they handle. Night and day difference!

Random Jade Photos From My Adventures :)

If you are interesting in my build let me know! I would love to talk about it with ya. Also, if you are interested in me building you a bike, let me know too. I really come to love the process and see other bikes in my future :)