'94 GS500E - Stolen, so stripping it down and rebuilding it.

Started by MrLamper, June 25, 2016, 03:32:25 PM

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Hey folks,

Warning, this is going to be a long read, but it will also be picture heavy as I love to take pictures of things I'm doing from a mechanical stand point.

I've been popping on this forum a lot these past few months, and tonight I decided it was time to get down and dirty and start the process of stripping down my bike to rebuild it.

A little back story on me: I'm from Scotland, currently in Edinburgh, and have a full A2 type licence - this basically means I am restricted to riding a bike with no more than 47bhp. I am pretty comfortable using tools, and fairly competent with basic maintenence (oil service, brakes, etc.) on cars, but to date I have never performed any mechanical tasks on a motorbike. So this is completely new to me!

I bought a 1994 GS500 E around 2 years ago from my hometown, and when I finally brought it to Edinburgh I rode it for approximately 6 days until it was stolen out of the garage I was keeping it in beside my flat.

Just as luck would have it, the first attempt to steal my bike took place on the one night I forgot to put the disc lock on. I discovered it missing from my garage at around 9am, around 1am that night I got a phonecall from the Police asking me to come and retrieve it. One of the lads caught on the bike received around 9 months imprisonment for a spate of related crimes, and specifically 3 months for the theft and usage of my own bike.

On arriving at the bike, it was in a bad way. The front fairings had been ripped off, the tail light smashed, the clutch and brake handles bent and snapped, the handlebars well out of alignment, and the ignition barrel completely smashed in. None of these parts were in/around my garage, so I have honestly got no idea what happened to them.

According to the police, it was very likely that they were going to ride it until it ran out of petrol (full tank of petrol at the petrol station near my flat just before I put it in the garage, goodbye £10+ I'll never see again  :icon_sad:) and then set it on fire, as was MO for these little f**kwits.

Took us about 30 minutes of running around like twats trying to bump start the bike before I realised that I should probably look at the wiring, saw two loose ones so twisted them up and presto, the bike started.

Remember when I said the tail light was smashed? The headlights had also been busted, so I had to ride seriously illegally across Edinburgh at 2am behind my big brother's car who was lighting/guiding the way.  :icon_eek: I don't recommend it.

1st gear seemed to be totally knackered, as the bike would cut out at anything faster than regular walking speed, so I had to get it going in 2nd and all above gears worked fine.

I parked it in my brothers garage and promised myself I would get it sorted ASAP, and that was the end of that. We took out the battery, disconnected and removed the petrol tank, stuck on the disc lock, and forgot all about it. I've now moved into my brothers flat as he bought a house, so I now live where the bike has been stored for 2 years, and it greets me every time I go out there to work on the car.

Tonight I finally decided that tomorrow shall elude me no more!

Obligatory pictures time!

From when I first got the bike:

At the time I had decided that I didn't like the style, so would be removing the fairings and twin headlight to head towards the more classic look. In case you have forgotten what that looks like, it's this:

That's a baseline of where I want to be.


This is essentially how my bike has looked since I threw it in the garage:

A bit of a mess, and in only approximately 21 hours!  >:(

Turns out the bike had been stolen at approximately 3am, and with the exception of the headlight unit (which I removed before thinking to take pictures) this is how it looked.

The first thing I removed is the hideous cage from the front, and it looks much better already:

However, the wiring is a bit of a mess, to my untrained eye. Seems like whoever has owned/worked on it previously has figured that because they were hidden behind the fairings that it doesn't matter how tidy it all is.

I unplugged the cables for the started and the horn, then continued around to the back to remove the rest of the fairings to get easier access to everything:

The bastards, they ripped off one indicator but left the fixings in place, but totally smashed the other out of place.

Then I removed the ... is it a mudguard, or an undertray, or... whatever it is called. I basically just pulled out the rest of the plastics and any easily removable parts from the rear, and have stored these to the side of the garage with the correct nuts/bolts so that I don't lose track.

My goal for today was to remove as much stuff as possible that wouldn't splurt out any oil or cause parts to go all over the place, so the next thing is the exhaust. The bolts were significantly rounded, so one of them refused to budge. Going to have to pick up some sort of bolt remover tool tomorrow when the shops are open. I removed the front wheel to get better access, but I feel that I might not have stripped the stuck bolt as much if I had done this first. Lesson learned; if the access isn't great, make it better!

Here's how it currently stands, as it got late and dark, and there's a little old lady living in the flat on the other side of the garage wall so I didn't want her to be kept up with the bangs, taps, and groans of frustration as I continued to plow through.


I had my gs500e stolen last summer more or less the same way. Luckily I retrieved it about a week later. I'm going through the same process (although I repainted everything because the guy did a crappy black and blue spray job) so if you need any help or have any questions, feel free to ask.

I've more or less learned this bike inside out after stripping it into parts and rebuilding everything with my own two hands.


oh, nice fairings u have there, do u wanna let it go? pls pm me :)

but, waiting for this story to continue though :)
- 2015 yamaha Nmax scooter daily
- 1997 Suzuki GS500e on project


Matty206, nice to hear you also got yours back, but it sucks it was stolen in the first place. Repainting is definitely part of my reasoning for a total strip down; I'm not keen on the blue and I want the frame to be black. There are some rusty looking spots all over so I'll get it checked out and probably go down the powder coating route.

Adityo, I legit only have the rear fairings and the front wheel cover, which I'll be hanging onto and recolouring. Assuming you meant the front/side fairings, those were all ripped off by the thieves 2 years ago.

So today I called up my local machine mart, which is the only place that seemed to have a 12mm bolt extractor that I could get on short notice. Come to find that "stud remover" is not the same thing as a "bolt remover"..  :icon_lol: :icon_rolleyes:
I'll shoot back tomorrow morning and see if they'll let me exchange what I bought for what I need.

This is the bolt I'm dealing with at present:

The space is far too tight to get in with a grinder and square it off, and I can't get the vice grips into the right position, and I'm coming to the understanding that I'm going to need a set of files.

Anyway, after I wrote up this thread last night, I started looking around for bits for the bike that I'm going to need. I'm aiming for a generally standard look, and I was massively inspired by the contents of this project build: http://gstwins.com/gsboard/index.php?topic=68582.0

I had been dead seat on converting to the single headlight unit, but on my searches last night I found this great looking twin unit:

To complement the black frame I'll end up with I'll be going for a smoked rear tail light. I plan on keeping the rear fairings standard, so this unit should hopefully fit without any modifications:

In keeping with the black theme I found these footpegs, but I'm not so sure about them so I'm open to opinion/suggestion on that:

Indicators. Good lord. So much choice. These are some of the ones I saw that I liked, but again I'm open to opinion/suggestion:

That's about where I am in my adventures of figuring out the direction I want to end up in, and most of the things listed above are last touches so I won't be physically buying them until I need to.


Wow MrLamper, great thread!!

I am so sad to hear about your bike being stolen and treated like that. Smh people are so stinkin' awful sometimes seriously...

You mentioned how you're not too fond of the blue but honestly the early pics from when you first got your GS, it looked really sharp. Those fairings are NOT dime-a-dozen, that's for sure! Frickin' thieves  :2guns:

It's really exciting how you're gonna take care of your bike and get things fixed up again  :D  I can't wait to see updates! +1 for powder coating the frame, without a doubt.

I like the look of that smoked tail light... and you said about wanting the frame to be black too... sounds like it will look sharp indeed!!

You picked out some cool lookin' indicators there. The ones that light up with the arrow shape are nifty! The only thing I can say about these indicators is (and I don't know where you were searching but...) when I first got my bike, I wanted cool LED signals... bought some and they were cheap as sh*t... plus then I ran into the classic (and quite noobish) problem of flashing too fast, just staying on, etc... then I just *bumped* one and it fell apart.  :icon_eek:

I was like yanno that's it. I went back online and bought OEM gixxer signals and I love them. They are made awesome... tough... and are sportier... granted they aren't LED but I'm pretty sure I could get LED bulbs for in them. All the other bulbs in my bike I've swapped to LED but didn't want to mess with the flashing thing again.

I know there will never be a shortage of the gixxer indicators online if I ever need to replace one. It worried me about certain designs of aftermarket indicators because if something were to ever happen to one... I'd be praying I could find the same style online again. But man are some of them COOL lookin'  :cool:

Good luck with that bolt!!! What are your plans for the dash area? Planning on painting those bits black as well to match the frame or...?

Superbike bars, '04 GSXR headlight & cowl, DRZ signals, 1/2" fork brace, 'Busa fender, stainless exhaust & brake lines, belly pan, LED dash & brake bulbs, 140/80 rear hoop, F tail lens, SV650 shock, Bandit400 hugger, aluminum heel guards & pegs, fork preload adjusters, .75 SonicSprings, heated grips


First things first, going forward this project will be on the back-burner as I've been laid off from my job this week. I work(ed) as a CNC Operator and it has been very slow this past 3 weeks, so they can no longer afford to keep the backshift (4pm - 2am, Monday - Thursday) running.
I'm obviously pretty damn disappointed, as I've only been doing this kind of work since November having zero prior experience, and I've gotten really good at what I did; to the point that my foreman told the boss that my skills are very valuable to the company and that under no circumstances should they let me go.

Re: ShowBizWolf, I am sure that I have seen a bike project thread with your name on it, but I can't find it in the Project section or in your thread history. Am I mistaken, or simply blind??

You're right, the blue is actually pretty sharp, and I'm leaning towards a Black/Blue colour scheme. Especially since looking at braided brake hoses, and considering changing any hoses/pipes I can for coloured ones. The blue simply looks better.

Thanks for the advice on the indicators, admittedly I was scouring ebay for those options and the bike has a past advisory for an indicator flashing at more than 120 times per minute, so I will avoid cheap crap for these more expensive metal ones I've found. Surely the build quality will be far superior?: http://bit.ly/294FRCJ

As for the dash area, anything that matches the current colour of the frame will be made black, but I have a slight problem with that, as per below..  :embarassed:

So today, I went to Machine Mart. I refunded the stud extractors, but they didn't have the bolt grips in store. I grabbed some files, some chisels, and a crowbar; I've been meaning to grab these for a while anyway, and I figure that maybe I can file the bolt down to a smaller size and put a smaller socket on it. After talking to my dad (I learned everything I know about car maintenence from spending years in the garage at home watching everything he does, and later having him teach me how to do things for myself. Even today I still seek advice from him on how to do certain things.) he recommended I get some Spline keys, as the teeth on those will give a great grip. I hit my local Halfords on the way home and use some vouchers to get a set, and so I try the 8mm key and hammer it in and break the seal.

shaZam!, that was a little bit too easy.

See the shiny bit?

Uh oh.


The exact set of stud removers I just returned are now the exact tool I need for the job. Go figure. That's not the only bolt I've stripped or snapped today.

That dash area? Remember that I said I bought a crowbar today, and that I've lost my job? I got a little bit pissed off. The nut was holding onto the stipped thread, and I took it out on the clocks.  :2guns:

So I'm going to have to consider my options for replacement clocks now...  :icon_rolleyes:

*deep breath*

So I decided to look and see what other parts I could safely remove from the bike to strip it down to just engine and frame. I figure that there's no point cracking open the engine until I know the frame can be powdercoated, as I don't want it sitting dry until such a time that I'm ready to remount it and put oil back in.

Next thing to go was the airbox:

How gross is that?!

Battery cage next. Seems that at some point battery acid has caused corrosion here:

Next I decide that I should probably take the loom out, but maybe I should have labeled off what the different connections are for, or what they were plugged into. I'm really hoping that the service manual will help wit that once I'm putting it all back together in the future.

Got this far, but it seems to be connected down here:

However, now it's all out and hanging from the joists in my garage. I'll inspect them in full later to see if there's anything I need to be worried about, but for now they'll live up here:

Got the rear brake pedal/assembly off:

Then I spotted a hose hanging out nearby, so I traced it and found the other end not connected to anything. Anyone able to advise on what it's for?

Still got the back wheel on, with the brakes in place and so on as I'm not certain about the correct way to remove it all and get the chain off. I'll research this for the next time I go down to the garage.

Here's the state of the chain from having sat for near 2 years:

Last picture for today, removed this black box which had a hose clipped to the side. Again, this wasn't connected to anything on either side so I'm not sure what the hell it's for...  :icon_eek:


Ah man I am so sorry to hear about your job  :cry:  That's a bunch of sh*t... it freaking figures... you find a job you like and enjoy AND are good at and then bango. Ugh I'll keep ya in my prayers and hopefully something will turn up or get better for you!!!

I never made a project thread for my GS because it was never much of a project, tbh. So you're not blind, don't worry  ;)  When I bought it, it did need some TLC cosmetically but when I was working on it, I was just a lurker here. I have pics and could make a thread about what I've done but I just never have. There are things I've done, absolutely, and there are more things I want to do in the future... hmm now you've got me thinking about making a thread for my bike...  :icon_razz:

Black and blue scheme sounds sharp and I like the idea of the colored hoses. It's all about the details sometimes!

YEAH I mean, ebay is loaded with awesome looking indicators! There are sooooooo many different ones for cheap, and I'm always pinching pennies but those ones I bought were total bunk. Just didn't want to see you end up with junky stuff... I really do like the metal ones you linked to. They should do the trick nicely.

Superbike bars, '04 GSXR headlight & cowl, DRZ signals, 1/2" fork brace, 'Busa fender, stainless exhaust & brake lines, belly pan, LED dash & brake bulbs, 140/80 rear hoop, F tail lens, SV650 shock, Bandit400 hugger, aluminum heel guards & pegs, fork preload adjusters, .75 SonicSprings, heated grips


Since I sold this bike yesterday, this project is officially dead for me. Hopefully the new owner can restore it to former glory, and hopefully I'll see it again in the future!


Sorry to hear your project didn't work out mate. Hopefully you can get a new bike in the future!

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