What is the saying? "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right?" Something like that. So I ended up taking the grinder to the work that I already did for the rear light cluster. I just wasn't happy with it. Too clumsy looking. So with a new combined LED light cluster with license plate holder in my hand (I found it on eBay here), I held it under the seat and saw what needed to be done. Chop chop chop.
I have some 1" tube on order from Metal Depot, arriving later this week. I'll make a loop around from end to end of the chopped frame; not quite a curve, but not quite super angular either, following the shape of the seat. I did look at a lovely pipe bender by JD Squared, and maybe in the future when I have a full shop I will get one of those. But for the time being I will make do with whatever makeshift bends I can do without the proper tools. I don't need much, just 15-20 degrees, so I can probably do that in the vice with some form made out of wood. It's only 0.060" gauge pipe so should be relatively easy to bed, but also relatively easy to crush. We will see.
Because I cut out the existing top suspension mounts I am going to have to make my own new ones. The originals were just bolts that were welded into a preformed piece of 18ga metal, so I will clean those out and make 4 flat brackets out of 1/8" flat bar, with the correct size hole for the bolts. Weld the bolts in place, then mount them onto the suspension, and make sure everything lines up before welding it all together. They will be almost exactly where they were before, just a lot cleaner looking.
(You will notice in one of the photographs I used the pieces I cut off the frame to support the bike. Conveniently enough they were exactly the right height to maintain the same distance of the swing-arm relative to the frame as with the suspension on.)
Current hours on build: 18.0