The Bikers Den

Bobber Project

In mid-September 2011 I found that Johnny Pag Motorcycles was selling their Barhog rollers through eBay for $1500 shipped.  Pretty good price since they were $1850 on their website and did not include shipping.  Already familiar with Johnny Pag cycles as an owner of a 2009 Spyder Chopper I was pretty excited.  A quick call to Pag and I was convinced this would be my next project.  This page will chronicle the progress of the project.

JP Barhog Roller

Roller as advertised on Ebay


Called JP after seeing Barhog rollers listed on ebay for $1500 shipped to my door.  Asked about what was included- specifically frame documentation so I could eventually register the bike and foot controlls (right side was not shown in photo).  I was told this was really a drop in an engine project and you were set.  I said I’d get off the phone and hit “Buy it Now” on eBay.  They offered to sell it to me direct so we exchanged information.


Got a call from JP letting me know everything went through without a hitch and I’d be contacted by the shiper once the bike was in my area.


FedEx Freight showed up with the Barhog as promised.  I was home when they arrived and helped unload the crate and began the process of opening it up.  Everything was super secure0 in the crate that was an angle iron frame wrapped in plastic and cardboard.  Things were either shrink wrapped, twist tied or bolted down to keep them secure.  The body had number of parts separated from it for transport- the handlebars and controls, front wheel, left foot controls, pegs, etc. were all there just not mounted.  As I unwrapped everything my wife and son came home and checked it out.  My son and a few neighborhood friends gathered around to watch the unwrapping.

Johnny Pag Barhog Roller Crate

Johnny Pag Barhog Roller Crate parked in my Driveway

JP Barhog Package unwrapped

JP Barhog Package unwrapped


I used my ratchet wrench set to disassemble the frame and free the parts.  The box contained the smaller pieces.  The front forks were bolted to the frame base and the back wheel tied to the frame.  I picked up the front end and pulled the rest of it off the crate frame and put it onto a motorcycle lift I had waiting next to the crate.  I then jacked up the lift to the approximate height to get the front wheel mounted and placed the speedometer mechanism and spacers.  Using a mallet I nudged the axle into place and the roller was formally a roller!  The barhog was wheeled into the garage for its position where I will do the work on it.

The BarHog Roller

The BarHog Roller with the first person to sit on it- my son

The only thing I did not find/get in the shipment that I was sure should have been there was the front and rear brake setups.  The add on eBay said “just add engine”.  I placed a few emails and left messages at Pag asking if this should have been included and somehow got pulled from my crate.  It was the weekend and I didn’t expect a response.  When Monday arrived I called and was told “nope, not included” so I asked them to price out everything for me since it was a vital part of the build- the rear brake cylinder is custom fit for the foot peddle setup and the front brake dual caliper setup is nicely paired with the front brake plates.  Anyway, the brakes for the bike “all around ended up costing me another $320.  They’re on the way.


The engine ordered for the Barhog project arrived today.  Selected as the powerhouse was a 1978  Yamaha XS400.  The guys at Johnny Pag outfit these with a 300cc engine that is simular to a Honda 300 parallel twin.  If you check out the pics on the JP site you’ll see the engine appears lost in the frame.  The sales people I spoke with recommended a 4 head 600cc engine that would fit but I wanted something simpler.  My research led me to the XS400- there is plenty of information available on them across the net, they were produced for a long time (1978-1994) and parts seem readily available.  A few hours of searching yielded me a 1978 engine with about 11,000 miles on it.  The motor was pulled from a running bike and was in decent shape.  Price was $100 and shipping was $150.

I knew I needed a carburetor setup, filters, exhaust, etc. but all were readily available so I made the buy.  The engine arrived in a wooden crate and was not bolted down.  It was wrapped in a heavy plastic bag and the leftover oil seeped all over the place.  It was quite a mess.  The only damage that seemed to happen during shipping was the stator cover split from 2 of its mounting bolts.  One more part I need to add to the buy list.

Now that I had the motor in my garage I could assess what other parts I needed.  The list includes: oil filters and cover, starter, starter cover, spark plugs, coils, tachometer and cable, gasket replacement set, carbs, exhaust, starter lever, chain drive cover.  There are also things I decided should be replaced for good measure since I was going to rebuild the engine anyway- clutch plates, gaskets, cables and wires, etc.

I’ve already received the carbs which are pretty dirty but should clean up nice.  I’ve purchased a commercial grade 2.5 gallon sonicator that I will use to clean most of the engine parts of 30+ years of gunk and grime.  The carbs will be the first in.  I found new replacement rubber seals for the carbs which I also have in hand.  Already staged in the garage along with the carbs are the gasket set, spark plugs, clutch plates and a few of the covers.

So that Yamaha Xs400 engine will be a direct fit into the frame.  Yep, front, rear and top bolt mounts are perfectly positioned for this motor.  I thought I’d have a perfect justification for buying a MIG welder but won’t need it for this.  I already removed the coolant bottle and radiator mounts from the Barhog frame- won’t be needing them since the XS400 is air cooled.  I intend to cut off all of the tabs welded to the frame that will not be used to clean things up.  The exhaust I chose is an aftermarket set.  It is a 2-into-1 setup that will come out the front of the engine around the front of the bike frame and under the bike for a bit.  Its black ceramic coated until that point.  The muffler is a chrome trumpet that will angle up from the point it comes out from under the bike.   But there is plenty of time for this since the engine will not be mounted until its rebuilt.

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