Building the Mollie Ragonesi tribute bike. - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Building the Mollie Ragonesi tribute bike.

By now I suppose many forum members have seen my threads, read my recent history and occasionally ask me, "How did you do that?".
So in time I will try to start with how I go about with basic tools, simple part repairs, upgrades that for the most part are cheap and effective plus a dose of off the wall, out of the box and outside the stadium home run hits.

For the tribute bike dedicated to Mollie Ragonesi which was her last bike before she passed away it was a 1993 Gl1500 that I bought from a person in Anchorage for $1500, it was his brothers bike that was rear ended, bike was totaled, the brother hurt very bad, a year later he still has to visit the hospital, they bought the bike back from the insurance lot, it has 54,000 miles on it, before the accident carbs cleaned and tuned, bike runs very good. Mollie was there when I saw it on Craigslist and was there helping me load it in the trailer. And she had a very optimistic plan on how to restore this bike.

Damage was both saddlebags, armrests broken, mirrors broken, some minor damage to right front cowl, rear trunk sub frame bent badly, engine bars trashed. Bike basically went flying and probably flipped side to side, trunk was not even scratched in the least, it then sat outside in Alaska for a year, seat was in bad shape.

A year before I found a fellow nearby who bought at an auction two gl1500 bikes worth of spare parts and body work, no frames or engines but a ton of Tupperware and fasteners, I paid $100 for the whole lot, so I knew right then I already had almost all the parts needed to replace what was too far gone.
Because of the near death experience in july in the "I lost my back seat partner" thread this and all the bikes were ignored, then I quit my job, brought all the bikes home, put this 93 and an 85 Yamaha vmax in the house, I did put up some heavy duty carport sheds for the bikes.
So to start the tribute bike here is it when It first went into the hot tub room for the winter, that is its original Cambridge Blue Metallic paint.
I promise to up date this as frequently as I can.

But in short and two months into the restoration here Is a couple of pics.
A new style 98 headlight did arrive to the post office, after 3 weeks, and they then sent it back to Florida, had wrong address on it, so for now I'm holding back on the front pics.

Yes it has a backup camera, yes it has backup lights, It's operated by the old Mute switch, which it does mute the radio and turns the camera on.

The paint is Aqua Blue Metallic with 3d holographic flakes, I did it all in that room with a hvlp gun, has urethane clear coat. The vinyl wrap is a mix of 4d gold carbon fiber from England, the US and China stuff was garbage, the 4d blue did come from America but the seller wants too much to ship it. Many parts were painted with VHT gold engine paint because it's more durable and chemical resistant and also has VHT ceramic clear coat.

The seat covers came from England as well, all leather, black and blue, I am trying out an idea of using memory foam, bought a solid memory foam pillow from Walmart and cut it in half, u see it under seat cover. You sit in the seat and you just start sinking and molding your behind into the seat, hopefully it will work out when bike hits the road.
New Tulsa Touring windshield should arrive by next week, hopefully it will not be too tall.
All the Hid lights have arrived and I am just now going to install the lower cowl light kit with the 35 watt 6000K hid kit, I am using the 880 bulb base, closest match to the socket I could find.

Those cowl lights are operating off the old cb and radio switches through a latching relay module, when I turn on ignition that module also turns off the headlights, one push of the "push to talk lever" turns on the low beams, I am using a pair of bi xenon, low is 55 watt 6000K hid, high is regular halogen, the solenoid actuated low to high lamps usually fail early li ke on my other gl1500 the 95, so I'm trying these out, remember in Alaska our riding season has very little night.

That's it for now, more coming, especially the radio mod and maybe a dual camera mirror system with a recorder.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 06:20 AM
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Great write up Dan. I will move this to the General Forum as it is about your bike.

I have had two Tulsa Tall windscreens and I really like them. Shoots the rain right of the top of you as long as you are moving at least 30 mph. That means that your helmet is quiet because there isn't any wind buffeting on your head.

I'm 5' 11" and most of my height is in my back. I only occasionally would hit my helmet on the windscreen when mounting the bike.

I resolved this issue by simply standing on the footpeg first and then swinging my leg up and over the backrest. No problem for me. YMMV

~ John


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 09:27 PM
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Looks good Dan. Nice project to pay homage and help keep your head in the right place. Still so incredibly shocking. I realize it is still so recent, and I am not trying to be dismissive of your loss but in the time since this happened I don't recall much comment from you on yourself. I had assumed you to be too humble to speak of yourself, so I'll ask. You too quite a lot of damage. Are your physical wounds healing well?

Shiny Side Up !
Jim
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:31 AM Thread Starter
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To be honest no, just the last 48 hours I have had massive pain in my shoulders and at several places where I was either stabbed or where the paramedics put in some kind of chest valve and later the surgeon put in chest drain tubes. It's better this morning, I am sleeping off and on a lot, I get up usually at 11pm, have my coffee, like right now, watch Fox news cause the babe's are hot and then check news, mail, status of stuff in the mail.
I cannot do anymore what I used to do being a heavy equipment mechanic and concrete mixer driver, I might try driving part time in the spring, right now I am using up the last of my 2013 unemployment benefits which has solely paid for all parts and I have 20 weeks of 2014 benefits available after the New Year. Not drawing Ss or any other benefits, my only real hope is my civil case against the custodian of my attacker will win me a decent settement.

For now I must stay busy or I will just wither away, in just a little bit I will be adding another article and picture on the bike, the hid modded cowl lights are all in, the switches for the lights is gonna blow people away, using just the old radio and cb switches I can control the headlights, the cowl lights, reverse camera, manual fan operation and still an extra function, plus they are labeled, pics coming in a little while.

So I have a budget but I also know how to fabricate almost anything, like the custom grills on the brake rotor cover and in the fairing come from Walmart desk top expanded metal organizers.


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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 05:03 AM
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Prayers to you for an enjoyable Christmas season.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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Here we have a situation, I need switches for first off turning OFF the hid low beams manually as is the case sometimes you have to reset them, normally on a US bike you cannot turn off headlights. I interrupted the low beam circuit and wired it through a relay, the latch module has two NO, normally open and two NC normally closed circuits, hey it came off my old mixer truck, but that's good, so a Bosch relay is wired on the NC, that's #30 to #87a, when the key is on latch module sends current to relay and opens it, no low beams.

The latch module is operated by a momentary contact, once that voltage is applied it will switch from closed, to open, to closed, so all that is needed is a push button switch.

Using the now disconnected cb and radio switches I routed out the wiring path, found the common feed and isolated each function, including the mute switch, it alone is separate from the latch module as I found the radio will mute whenever I used the module, a voltage spike I presumed, so the mute switch turns on the radio backup camera just like in a car, it also suspends the radio and mutes it, also turns on reverse white backup led lights on rear of bike.

The outside lever for the cb com is what will disable headlights, another will switch a relay to ground out the sending unit wire under the radiator to manually turn on fans, handy at times.

I used an electronic Dymo label maker for the labels, btw, if the latch module fails the low beams will just operate in a normal fashion, they are bi xenon, highs are halogen.

Another turns on the hid front lower cowl lights and possibly I may install front and rear strobe lights or white smd strip lights around bike, depends, I know I will be installing a front video recording camera up front. So that's what I did yesterday. I had a Dickens of a time installing the 880 style hid lamps in those new Show Chrome clear housings, they use a different socket than the pair I used on my 95 bike last winter, wound up making a sheet metal plate with a socket hole for the bulbs, epoxied the plates in, focus was right on for a nice long light throw.

You can see my carbon fiber wrap on the parts like the grill, the chrome molding on the rear saddlebags and back of bike have 3M blue reflective tape on them, hit with a light they glow very bright. You can see one short vertical piece on the front rotor, and yes that's wire mesh I installed in the opening.
I use the 5 pin Bosch style relay for most applications, there is plenty of room under the left front pocket on the Gl1500, on my 95 I had mounted two rows of three led illuminated rocker switches in the cb panel, on this bike I took a piece of thin polycarbonate I had lying around, measured, cut and fitted in the old cb hole, covered it with 4d gold vinyl carbon fiber wrap first, has a little bit of adhesive on the edges and two strips of gorilla tape on the backside, I may use that slot for something in the future.

Hopefully the second 1998 style headlight will be coming, it's on an auction but the price is good, the first one took three weeks to get here from Florida only to be sent right back because the seller used my home address instead of the PO box, I might get it back in about 6 to 8 weeks what with the holidays.

So I am going for another. Once It's here the core rebuilding is done, after that it's extras, and It will have many unique features.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 06:38 AM
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Wonderful light show Dan, and great work all the way around.

Wish I could wave a wand and have the body pains go away for you.

~ John


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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 07:28 AM
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Dan
I am sorry to hear that your recovery is taking a while. Just hang in there and keep your hands busy that always helps. The bike is really looking amazing and well thought out! I am certain that Mollie is watching over your shoulder and would be very proud! Keep up the good work and keep the pics/posts coming.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks buddy, you know what I do almost all day long? I watch those Mecum Auto auctions on Velocity Channel, watching one from Indy right now, reminds me of the time years ago when I worked at a street rod shop building show cars, thinking outside the box was a new hire requirement obviously.
Occasionally I may go into detail especially when it's electrical but otherwise I would only give a general description of how I do what I do, it's kinda like I have a pile of aluminum sheets cut from chimney flue pipes, abs that comes from Walmart tubs or trash containers, wire mesh from either barbecue grills or desk organizers, electronic parts salvaged from other vehicles.

The trick is throwing it into a mental blender and visually thinking If it would work.

But nowadays most people either think it's a Google Play app or something they can j just buy, plug it in and play, just like any other person can do, but you lose originality and creativity, sure you get bling, comments on how good it looks but it gets kinda lost when it's too easy to do, too common, then it's value decreases.

I have a plan, what's next after more funds arrive is dual cameras monitor above dash with ultrasonic detection, a dvd video recorder with gps, rear passenger armrests with possibly a small dvd screen and player on one so passenger could watch a movie, basically a head rest unit from a car, really cheap from China.
A TPMS is definitely on my shopping list, one for four tires so you can monitor a trailer. I'd love to build a custom trailer for this bike.

Getting back to the bike, a BackOff brake module may get installed, I have already lined both front fairing pockets with carpet, trunk and saddlebags are next as well as front and rear power outlets.
Vinyl script will go on the windshield cowl, I am just about ready to order that.
In a way I'm building the bike as if I had a back seat partner and we were getting ready to tour the country.
Make it safe, make it comfortable and make it unique.


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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Gonna cover the 93 Tribute bike for a while, several key parts, the Tulsa Tour windshield and the 98 style headlight are on a 40 mule caravan to Alaska right now.
So last night I moved the 85 Vmax from my bedroom to the kitchen, pulled radiator and starter, doing a 4 pole upgrade, bike is getting a full clean, restoration and a factory amethyst paint job.

So since it's a Vmax I may not be here much, unless people want to see its progress, otherwise it's on the Vmax forums.
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