Single Sided Swingarm on VF500F?

Discussion in '1st & 2nd Generation 1983-1989' started by BLIGHT, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Anybody tried a Honda SSS on the VF500F? Probably the VFR750 SSS would be the best bet... but I'm just guessing.

    I put a SSS on a VTR1000 in a previous project, so I'm not afraid to take on a good challenge!

    I did a forum search and found nothing. I look forward to your learned responses!

    BLIGHT
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  2. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    Only similar thing I've heard of is TOE CUTTER putting a SSSA on a 2nd gen.

    SSSA is heavy. The advantage of the 500 is it's light weight. I am a fool for doing things "just cuz" but am a little skeptical on this one.
     
  3. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Hi Tinker, when I did my VFR800 SSS conversion on the VTR1000 I weighed all the components and, you're right, the SSS is slightly heavier, but only by a couple of pounds. It's an apparently successful rear suspension solution when you consider Honda's considerable racing heritage with it: The RC30 and RC45 both were world championship winners with the production bike SSS technology.

    As if that's not enough... let's consider the amazing Ducati World and AMA SuperBike success with it's decades long series of SSS equipped SuperBikes. They went away from it for a couple of years, but it's back now and working well for them. A SSS rear end is certainly something that won't hinder a humble little street bike, especially when you consider the minor weight differences. The 'style points' more than make up for it, eh? Well, at least for me it does.

    Still... back to my original question: has anybody done it on the VF500F?

    Cheers,
    BLIGHT
     
  4. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Here's a pic of my VTR1000 with the VFR800 SSS:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    BLIGHT
     
  5. hopit88

    hopit88 New Member

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    If you use a VFR arm, plan on a custom exhaust. The rear pipes on the 500 pass down through the swingarm, not happening with the VFR arm. Yeah they go on other bikes but those bikes don't have pipes in the back. The 800 arm is split in front but is wide and would NEVER fit in a 500 no matter how much material you remove from it. Same goes for the Duc am MV arms. The VFR400 arms are the same deal, different exhaust is mandatory.
    VFR400 arm
    003-3.jpg

    If you do go custom exhaust, you have to relocate a ton of items under the seat and possibly the battery. If you can do the exhaust yourself, that's a plus but to have some one do it for you would cost a bundle to be done right. The rears will take a fair amount of time and time is money to a good fabricator.

    Like they say, anythings possible with time and money.

    Love that VTR!
     
  6. invisible cities

    invisible cities New Member

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    Starting with a Hawk 650 frame & sssa and bolting up a VF500F engine would be a better route, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  7. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Howdy! That's not true (sorry)... the VF500 rear pipes pass in front of the swingarm pivot, not through the swingarm. The big hole in the arm is for the rear shock. I went out in the garage and checked just to be sure.

    The VTR was a fun project... it did require a new exhaust, for two reasons: When the shock had to be moved to the left 1.25" (from where the VTR shock was) it was smack in the way of the rear header pipe. Secondly, I wanted a single muffler on the left side to fully expose the wheel in all it's glory. That meant a 2 into 1 design, and completely new system which I made myself from 1.75" SS tubes & ells.

    Here are pics of the VF500 swingarm, the VFR750 arm, and the NT650 Hawk GT arm for visual comparison:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Looks like it could work using one of the Honda arms. There's also the NC30 arm (looks a lot like the VFR750 arm, but might be shorter):
    [​IMG]

    I sure could use some measurements, like the width at the swingarm pivots and the length to from pivot point to axle C/L. Any helpers out there in VFR Land? I hope it wouldn't add too much to the VF500F wheelbase.

    Cheers,
    BLIGHT
     
  8. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Alright... I'm sitting here in front of the TV sipping my coffee, waiting for the Daytona 500 to start (lookin' pretty soggy there) so I did some more Photoshop on the NC30/VF500 project. I wanted to see white wheels and a SSS on the back. It just looks so good, I'm going to have to make it happen, eventually.

    I'll sort out the bodywork thing (see different thread for that) but this SSS with 17" front+ rear in white just looks too good on the VF500F to pass on it:

    [​IMG]

    See ya,
    BLIGHT

    (I'll post this photo over on the other thread too, since it is a better conceptual photo of the completed project)
     
  9. hopit88

    hopit88 New Member

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    When I said through, I meant in front not through where the shock goes through. Does the 500 use 2 separate pivot bolts? I noticed a notch in the 500 arm between the pivot points, obviously to clear the pipes. That area on the NC arm will likely hit and removing material there is sketchy at best. A ton of load on that spot with the single arm and you'd have to remove half(?) the material there (like Honda's notch) and still the pivot bolt might interfere. The 400 arm might fit in the frame but that's an area of concern for me.
    To get the stock R swingarm in the 500, you have to shave it, to get the VFR arm in to the R, you have to remove the large left side boss on the frame that the pivot bolt goes through, so I'm guessing the VFR is even more of a struggle on the 500. Even if you could shoe horn it in, It would be a barely situation and would probably give you no room for wheel alignment. If you could get the wheel aligned enough to the left somehow, I think chain alignment would be a nightmare with the rear sprocket most likely outboard of the front counter shaft cover. With the VFR arm, you still need a hub that uses a single attachment point for the 400 wheel. You could maybe use the 750 wheel but that might be much for the light handling 500. Not sure how compatible the NC hub is to the VFR arm. And that also leaves us with the pivot area dilemma.

    The Hawk arm might work but there is no linkage. It's a direct shock to frame set up on top. Biggie? I don't know. Maybe not. The Hawk uses a long pivot bolt as well so pipe interference could still be an issue. Still need to source an NC hub/spindle cause the Hawk's is a tad short for the NC wheel opening. It will go in but not enough to hold it safely IMO. Plus, IIRC, the spindle has to be redrilled for the locating pins, I think the NC and Hawk might be different. Don't take it to a friend to do, they are VERY hard and your machinist of choice will hate you.

    Not trying to bum you, just throwing out as many possible hiccups as I can think of for you so you can ask the right questions when sourcing parts or figuring out the budget.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  10. invisible cities

    invisible cities New Member

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    Well noted as always, hop!
     
  11. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    No worries.. Thanks for the post! You are a true wealth of information! There are many things to consider with this potential project. On my Superhawk, Honda actually did run the rear header through the same hole the shock goes through. They just moved the shock about 1.5" to the right to make way for the pipe, and made an oval hole in the front swingarm casting. That's why I thought you were referring to the rear headers going 'through' the swingarm.

    Yes, the 500F swingarm is notched in the front to allow the twin rear pipes room to pass. Honda actually slightly pinched the rear header pipes too for clearance on the engine side. It's a really tight fit back there. The pinch might also act as a way to balance the pressure loss in the pipes too, since the rears are so much shorter than the longer front pair.

    I made a rough measurement of the VF500F swingarm and it's ~9" wide at the front and 21" from pivot bolt back to the axle (with a new chain) Anybody have swingarm dimensions on the ones shown above?

    I don't know how the NT650 arm would work with the linkage-less direct shock mount... might be OK, but who knows? It wouldn't be a rising rate that the linkage offers, but the shock will likely compensate for that with tuning. Question: What if you used a VFR750 bearing carrier slipped into the NT650 arm? The big open loops in the arm casting appear to be similar in size. It seems dumb for Honda to make 3 or 4 different bearing carriers for all these SSS bikes. If the VFR carrier slipped into the NT arm then that gets around the spindle-pins-nut issue with the NT, and you don't have to use an ugly NT wheel.

    The 90-93 8-spoke wheel is attractive (to me anyway) and I don't care if it's a little too wide or heavy if it fits. (Can't be too picky here, eh?)

    Here's my wonderful '91 VFR... I stripped the wheels of gold paint and polished them up:

    [​IMG]

    My friend owns it now and it's 1200 miles away... I can't make any rough measurements off of the swingarm. I'll call him and get the front dims and the pivot to axle measurement.

    Again, thanks for all the possible considerations in this swap. BTW, I Googled 'VF500F single sided swingarm' and got bupkus! Maybe it's impossible, never been done, a stupid idea, or whatever??

    Cheers,
    BLIGHT
     
  12. hopit88

    hopit88 New Member

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    You still have the problem of the pivot bolt interference with the rear pipes with the Hawk arm, it needs the long bolt. Welding in new bosses in the 500 frame and exactly true to the frame is needed as well. Here are some width's of various arms.


    Ducati 748/916/996/998 - 243mm
    Honda VFR750 (1990-93) - 242mm
    Honda VFR750 (1994-97) - 227mm
    VFR400 - 192mm
    RVR400 - 202mm
    Hawk NT650 - 235mm
    RC30 - 235mm
    RC45 - 250mm
    MV Agusta F4 - 255mm


    Here's what not to do...Gods way of thinning the herd.
    Check out this move... - VFR Discussion
     
  13. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Thanks for the arm front width dimensions! I measured the front of the VF500 arm today with a really accurate tape measure fished through the frame and I came up with ~9", or 228mm... about the same as a 94-97 VFR750! Do you have the other dimension variable of pivot point to nominal axle centerline? I don't want to add too much wheelbase with a SSS adaptation... especially on a smaller bike like the VF500F.

    I see what you mean by pivot bolt interference... here's a pic of the VF500 swingarm, and I had assumed it had a standard long pivot bolt instead of two lateral short bolts. Seems kind of a weak design to me!

    [​IMG]

    UPDATE: I measured a couple of Honda SSS swingarms pivot to axle carrier C/L and they are around 21" or so... that's a good thing!

    Regards,
    BLIGHT
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  14. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    besides the dipshit maneuver, it doesn't even look good. Everyone pictures the bike, when the dream of this mod, from the naked side. I.E. the pics listed above. That thread shows a pic of the bike from the swingarm side and it looks like shit. The SSSA large flowing rounded edges do not mix with the small square tubular frame.

    When TOE did it on the 2nd gen, it's a completely different frame type.
     
  15. BLIGHT

    BLIGHT New Member

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    Well, that's your opinion Tinker, and you're certainly entitled to it. There are many thousands of VFR riders with swingarms that "look like shit' as you say that will just plain disagree, sorry to tell you!

    I'm just looking into the SSS for the VF500 from a feasibility standpoint for now. It's my bike and I'm the only one who has to like it. I'll assume the structural 'risks' you're so worried about.

    My engineering training, years of mechanical design experience, combined with 43 years of building and modifying motorcycles will guide me to the right decisions, thank you.

    Oh, and the left side muffler covers a good deal of the 'shitty swingarm' that you dislike so much, so it's not such a big deal.

    Here's a pic of my SSS VTR1000 from the 'shitty' side, and I think it looks great! The frame has nothing to do with it in my opinion. You disagree, so that's that, eh? Let's move on!

    [​IMG]

    Have a great tomorrow!

    Cheers,
    BLIGHT
     
  16. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    I like it on the VTR1000. Completely different and more modern frame style on that bike - like all the VFRs and not the small square tubular frame from the VF series. The looks work with the rest of the frame on the VTR, and the mount is completely different and more up to the task structurally.

    I'd ride the shit out of that VTR1000 and be damn proud. :thumbsup:
     
  17. crustyrider

    crustyrider New Member

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    Tinker is just mad because you are taking the SSSA idea with the gen 1 farther than he did. If your not interested in what TWS is doing then everything that your working on is crap or an impossiblity to do. he needs constant reassurance that he is doing something productive.....
     
  18. invisible cities

    invisible cities New Member

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    Always a fan of creative thinking. This said I still think the best route is to start the build centered around the Hawk 650 frame and single sided swingarm. These two components are designed to work together. From there you can fabricate custom motor mounts for the 500 motor, et. al.

    My two cents of course.
     
  19. hopit88

    hopit88 New Member

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    Unfortunately, this applies to all gens of VFR, BMW, and many Ducatis. They all look dorky from the arm side. It's the nature of the beast regardless of frame construction. The MV is the exception, looks beautiful from either side.
     
  20. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    Agree with that idea.

    When you think you are qualified to diagnose other people; it's a sign you've been spending too much time with your shrink. Might be a good idea for you and the Doc to discuss this on your next apt.
     
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