How to Build Your Own Motorcycle Frame

Ready to build your own motorcycle frame? Once you've settled on a few key details and have practiced your basic skills, building a motorcycle frame is just a matter of time and patience.

Decide between a soft-tail and hard-tail motorcycle frame.

Some die-hard chopper fans prefer a hard-tail motorcycle frame. This is a frame that has absolutely no suspension, but looks very cool. If you're more interested in blending comfort and style in your custom chopper frame, go for a soft-tail motorcycle frame. Soft-tail frames typically have springs and dampers to cushion you from road shocks, improve handling and make for an all-around better ride. 

Build or order a jig.

You'll want a jig to hold your frame in position while you work. You can get jig blueprints online or even at your local motorcycle parts shop. If you've got the time and the tools, you can build your own jig according to blueprints and your frame's specifications. Otherwise, you can order jigs, but you'll be restricted in building your own frame by the jig's layout.

Be ready to weld.

Building your own motorcycle frame requires welding. Make sure your welding skills are ready before you even think about building a frame. Welds hold the bike together, and the last thing you want is a weld to fall apart while you're driving down the interstate.

Cut your parts.

First, you need to cut your steel pipes to the proper length for your steering yolk, bottom rails and center brace. Next, cut your rear axle frames. When you're cutting frame pieces, leave an extra few inches on each piece in case of a mistake. It's much easier to cut a frame down than start over if you cut a piece too short.

Start welding.

When everything is cut to size, lay out your lower rails and weld the engine plates to them. Be extremely vigilant about your engine plate size and give yourself room to seat bolts and secure your engine. Next, weld your steering yolk to the lower bars. You should leave room for the steering tube to fit between the two pipes of your steering yolk when you weld it into place.

Install the center bar.

When you're cutting the center bar, measure the distance from your steering yolk to your rear bars. You'll want a center support brace to secure your center bar to your rear bars. Make sure you leave room for your wheel; measure and re-measure, and try the wheel out before welding the brace into place.

Supports and cross-braces.

Supports and cross-braces are the next order of business. You'll need a brace from the rear tubes to the engine block. You'll want a main support behind the engine plates to the lower bars and the center rail. This is your final major assembly point, so make sure everything is secure and all of your supports are firmly in place at the correct angles.

Finish your welding and assemble.

You're ready to weld your axles, fittings and anything else you need to build your frame. This is the time to finish any details for your engine block, add your seat and add and secure additional fittings on your frame. From there, you're ready to assemble your bike, and then it's just a matter of painting and finishing your bike.

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