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Thread: Rebuild / Resurrection: Suzuki GN 125

  1. #1
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Default Rebuild / Resurrection: Suzuki GN 125

    I really do seem to pick'em, don't I. This one's a bit of a sad case. The bike was bought for a trainee of mine by her mom, as her first vehicle. She did really well as a rider and enjoyed riding, but after only putting 407km on the bike it was stolen from their yard one night. The tealeaves pushed it down the road to the bush and chopped all the wiring out of it (as in all), causing damage to the seat base and bending the handlebars (and breaking an indicator) when they dropped it on its side to get to every bit of copper they could.

    Wouldn't be so bad you think, until the bike was recovered by the SAPS (well done guys) and taken to the local Municipal Govt Impound Yard. Or should that be "free shopping from the vehicles we have stored" yard. The owners saw the bike when it was taken in - mostly in one piece. A year later the case was resolved, insurance was happy, and they were told to come and collect the remains. At this point I got a call asking what they could do about it. I advised simply replacing the missing parts as the bike was perfect, and rebuilding it. They didn't want to do that and didn't know how to, so offered the bike to me for the training school. Sounded great to me, they were happy it'd get back on the road again, so off we went with the release forms to get the bike.

    Things were very different from the last time she'd seen it. It was far different from the description she'd given me as well (not that I was looking a gift horse in the mouth or blamed her). I pulled the remains out from the side of a shed it was leaned against (weather protection from a nice growing bush too), and the first words out of the Sergeant's mouth were, "No man - where's the rest of it?" He then had a long politically incorrect discourse on govt. employees which I'll leave out. In the year it'd been in impound, the bike had "lost" its side covers, carb, fuel tap, axles (go figure), front footrests and a few other bits. What I rescued was this:

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    But fortune smiles, and I've found a donor bike. Front end prang and twisted frame, beyond economical repair but with all the bits I need. So here's to a quick rebuild. I'll give her a slight flat tracker twist though, as I've never really liked the chopperesque handlebars and riding position on the standard GN.

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    I'll put the build log on here.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  2. #2
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    Like the gold tank one more. Borderline café racer

  3. #3
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    The idea is - seeing as I'll have a second tank & exhaust along with mudguards with the parts bike - to do a second saddle, 'guards & indicators, plus wrap the second pipe. In one guise it's a training bike. Swap a few pieces with spanners & sockets - it's a fun little flat tracker-type thing.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  4. #4
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Small sample of today's work. Before & afters - elbow grease and Autosol. Cataloging of what's there, what's missing & what needs doing.
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    So far, major items on the list are:

    Frame & bodywork: Blank off headstock & use sacrificial bolts to protect threads, then off to sandblasting and paint. A year's standing in the weather didn't help. Repaint frame, swingarm & brackets in gloss black. Use donor chain guard (they bent my one to hell). Repaint tanks & side covers. Front mudguard needs a little fettling to get it completely straight, plus some minor rust removal. Rear mudguard just needs some rust removal. I'll sandblast and paint the spare set.
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    What they were doing to the luggage rack I don't know, but the most of the rack was cut through. I'll grind it off and grind the weld points flush, sandblast the grab rail and paint it. Look better done like that anyway (the red bike).
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    Wheels: Replace wheel and swingarm bearings for the same reason. Polish rims back to shine. Tyres only have 407km on 'em.
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    Brakes: Replace brake shoes (the drum was left open as a handy rain catcher), remove rust from drum, use donor bike's rear brake rod (thieves cut mine for who knows what reason). Check front caliper. Swap brake hose from the donor bike (thieves cut the brake hose), bleed system.

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    Controls: I'm going to see how well the bars from a Honda XR125 fit the riding position (R280 from Honda - cheaper than some aftermarket jobs, and they fit the Tracker look. Suzuki want R495.00 for OEM. Funny guys). Amazingly my bike's controls weren't damaged or swiped, and the donor bike's are fine despite a front-end prang. I'll use the best of the lot and keep the spares. Need mirrors though. Front footrests are missing from my bike, so swap the R-side off the donor and order a new one for the left. My brake and gear pedals are fine.

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    Lights & Electrics: I need the whole wiring harness, and the donor's an unmessed-with 2014 so lucky me. Replace one broken indicator with one of the good donor ones (and still have 2 more spare). Headlight shell just needs cleaning and de-rust. Ignition - I'll either fit connectors to the cut wiring on mine, or swap the unit & keys with the donor. My clocks are perfect. Indicators just need a touch of Autosol.


    Engine: Thanks to a year outdoors with nothing blocking the intakes, I'll pull the head to check all's well. The intake valve is rusty, but thankfully was closed. Service & check motor. New front sprocket and chain needed. New air filter needed too. Repaint engine side covers - scuffed by thieves. Lube all cables, use donor throttle cable.

    The donor's engine fired up and ran fine (16 500 km on it). If mine's cherry, I've got a buyer for the donor unit lined up.

    Fuel system: Thankfully the tank was closed and seems fine inside, just scuffed and needs new paint. I'll repaint the spare tank as well. For now I'll just swap the fuel tap, though I think I'll order another for the spare tank regardless. Clean the donor carb & fit.

    Forks and shocks: One of my forks was opened up to the elements (they took the cap off) and was full of water. Should be able to reuse, but both stanchions are pitted along their lengths thanks to standing. Suzuki only sell the whole fork leg at R 2450.00 a pop but blow that. I'll get them re-chromed, re-use the perfect dust covers & fit new seals. Option 2 is the donor bike. Despite a front end knock, the stanchions aren't kinked at all - just mildly bent. They may be recoverable as well. My rear shocks just need a polish and re-installation.

    Other than that little lot, it's just a case of cherry-picking various bolts and rubber fittings from the donor bike.

    Up next - photos of the donor bike when I get it (should be early next week), then as soon as the frame's sandblasted and painted the rebuild starts in earnest. The point of this rebuild is to do it well, but on a budget. Hopefully it'll encourage some of you guys to tackle a project.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  5. #5
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    Order more elbow grease. You have used loads already and may need some more

  6. #6
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Update:

    Here's most of what I have:
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    And today I finally picked up the donor bike.

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    The frame & various bits will be going for sandblasting later this week, then paint. Then the strip-down & swap begins.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  7. #7
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Been a bit quiet the past few, what with work and other things on the go. Just waiting on word from the painter to take the parts for media blasting, but in the meantime I've sorted the handlebars out. Honda XR125/XR150. Lower ride and more the Tracker vibe I want, and the best part is the price at R280.00 vs the R495.00 for the OEM Suzuki bars. So there's a handy tip if you have a GN125 and need to replace the handlebars. XR bars are the black ones, just in case you were wondering.

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    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  8. #8
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Lots of progress made lately. Most of the parts for sandblasting are stripped and ready to go to the sandblasters. Other parts being stripped and rebuilt.

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    Done so far:

    Clocks reassembled, donor wiring tidied up & instrument cluster reassembled.
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    Half the indicators have been finished - using the donor wiring in my three remaining indicators as they're newer and nicer.
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    Mudguards stripped and prepped for sandblasting or reassembly, same with the chain guard & the headlight bucket.
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    Amazing what ordinary household vinegar does for rust removal, although once done you need to neutralize it with bicarb & fresh water then seal the part immediately to avoid flash rusting.
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    Engine stripped for inspection. I was concerned there may be water damage as it had lain next to the bike in the grass - uncovered - for nearly a year. The intake valve in particular is rusty. In another lucky break, both valves had been closed when the engine last ran, so there'd been no water ingress to the cylinder. Everything's tidy and shiny. Just need new gaskets and I'll repaint the side covers as they were scratched up when the bike was stripped.

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    Next up - clean valve & strip forks, then off to sandblasting and paint.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  9. #9
    My real account is under AMZ FJTillDeath's Avatar
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    I am beginning to think I need to bring my bike to you to rebuild.

    I am very eager to see just how this turns out especially with the style you have in mind.
    Life on 2 wheels is so much better

  10. #10
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Some more progress. Head cleaned up and new valve ordered. The intake valve would probably still work, but with everything stripped this far down it's worth replacing for R195. Note the rust pitting from keeping all that water out for nearly a year, even after a clean-up. Current questionmark is over the gasket Suzuki supply as a GN125 head gasket. Its 2 blades thinner than the original and slightly different. The web says its part number is for a DR125 but Suzuki SA says that's what their fiche gives them. Sure it'll boost performance, but that's 2/3 thinner. Some research in order.

    Hopefully the frame and parts go in for sandblasting in the next 2 days, then to paint. If I get a gap from work.


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    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  11. #11
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Latest updates and progress: Sandblasting's now done - apart from the likely small bracket or fitting that hid away and wasn't done, which you only find come
    reassembly time.

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    The missing pics - this is what it looked like in the impound yard when we collected it.

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    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  12. #12
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banditman View Post

    The missing pics - this is what it looked like in the impound yard when we collected it.

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    Only a madman would look at that and see a bike, never mind a restorable bike! Own up! How regularly did your mom drop you on your head?

  13. #13
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Name:  dr_evil.jpg
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Size:  34.9 KB My plans for it are....quite exceptional, Mr. AMZ.

    I can't blame my mom. Perhaps I should blame 3 years and 11 falls of London dispatch riding, on bikes 7 days a week and in that lovely cold. Oxygen starvation or hypothermia in winter perhaps.

    In honesty? When I went to collect it along with the owners (who'd last seen a far more intact bike) I put on my best poker face for their sakes (you know, the "thank you for the lovely socks" one) and started doing a scrap value count in my head. Once I saw how much was under the grass - and knowing it was a 407 km bike that'd never been dropped - I knew I could get it back together as long as I found a project bike for under R5K. Labour wouldn't be a factor as I was the (nutcasemadmanidiotlostpuppyrescuer) ahem! guy who'd do most of that. I'll be able to keep it worthwhile by selling the donor's decent engine to an acquaintance at gym for a big chunk of that bike's cost.

    So far I'm in for gaskets and an intake valve, oil filter, a left front footrest, sandblasting (R220 for the lot), new wheel bearings (R190 the lot), new chain and front sprocket & brake shoes, fork seals & oil. The paint a friend is doing for a few hundred and a new unused but shop soiled SR250 tank for his tracker project. The biggest single expense once the donor engine's sold will be the rechroming of the fork sliders at MP Suspension - about R850 each - as the originals are pitted from standing all that time outside. The donor's are bent but look recoverable as spares. Cheaper than R2450 per new fork assembly from Suzuki.

    But if you go and take a look at my CB 450K1 project a few posts down, you'll probably stand firmly by your original statement.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  14. #14
    Trip 7s colyvon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMZ View Post
    Only a madman would look at that and see a bike, never mind a restorable bike! Own up! How regularly did your mom drop you on your head?
    Only a true artist can look at a piece of rock and see a finished masterpiece. Look at Michelangelo's statue of David.

  15. #15
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colyvon View Post
    Only a true artist can look at a piece of rock and see a finished masterpiece. Look at Michelangelo's statue of David.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence colyvon. But don't forget that Vincent Van Gogh was also an artist, & this is just a GN125

    I've just had another thought AMZ; We had an old family friend (going back to my preschooler and primary school days) who used to haul piles of vintage iron off of farms and restore them back to beauty again. His '37 Chevy Master Deluxe Convertible in particular springs to mind. Perhaps I should blame Uncle Neville for turning me into a petrolhead with the Icanfixthat virus.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  16. #16
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    On a serious note, if anyone out there would like to get an idea of what restoring / rebuilding a project like this will cost, I'll post up the spreadsheet afterwards along with the list of what was done.
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  17. #17
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    I bet if you cut the grass back there will be parts for a Sherman Tank, Mini Cooper and a piece of the Berlin Wall.
    Just one this I could not spot was Wally. But I am still looking.
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  18. #18
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Primer first coat on
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    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  19. #19
    "Master Yoda". Banditman's Avatar
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    Lots on the go so I've not been online much, but here's some of the latest progress. Excuse the poor image quality in some shots, I'm still trying to get the camera settings right.

    More polishing & elbow grease:

    Mudguards before and after. The rougher front & rear set have been sandblasted and painted gloss black. Shocks, headlight bucket & other bits polished thanks to Dremel, Autosol & elbow grease.

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    Frame and various bits painted.

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    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


  20. #20
    Only in Souff Efrica! Vespa 1's Avatar
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    Very nice! It'll look better than new when you're finished!
    Ride with the Eagles in Safety! Not with the Angels by Accident

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