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Help me pick a bike

This is a discussion on Help me pick a bike within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; I have been cruising craigslist and I am trying to find a decent bike to start with. I want something in the sub $500 range. ...

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  1. #1
    Member onesojourner's Avatar
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    Help me pick a bike

    I have been cruising craigslist and I am trying to find a decent bike to start with. I want something in the sub $500 range. Something I can work on a bit over the winter and get it running. I have been looking a lot at the 350 twins. I need something that is capable of highway speeds at least for bit and something that can carry 2 occasionally. I know I want something small and light. This is pretty much my first bike so I want a something that has a good knowledge base and that is super easy to find parts for. I want to do a mild cafe at first and then maybe something a little more down that road. What's the consensus on twins vs fours?
    cl360

  2. #2
    Administrator borzwazie's Avatar
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    The CB350 twin is enough bike for what you're asking. There are parts everywhere for it, and they're cheap.

    The CB360 is a bit less common than the 350 twin, but also a nice bike in that size range.

    I have also seen some people do nice things with the late 70's/early 80's Honda CB/CM 400/450s. They don't lend themselves as easily to a cafe treatment, but we have at least one on this board that looks pretty nice. Easy to get parts for. I'd personally avoid the automatic.

    The early/mid 70's CB450 and 500 twins are nice bikes, if a little heavy, but it's easy to strip weight from them. Some parts are hard to get for them, especially cam chain rollers and front brake pistons on some years (they changed at some point, K4, I think). I have one of these so I can answer questions about it. Easy to find a cheap 450.

    On Honda 4s: it is my understanding that the 350F is hard to get parts for as it wasn't produced for a long time. The 400F is a better choice there but still not terribly common.

    The 500/550 4s seem to be fairly common to me the 550s more so, and pretty cheaply. The 750s are probably bigger than you want, and fairly heavy.

    The Yamaha XS650 is very common, and parts for it are stupid easy to get. It doesn't feel like a huge bike, either. It came in a couple versions, including a version for the cruiser market with a 16" rear wheel. Many, but not all parts interchange.

    People rave about the Suzuki GS series of bikes, and I know they had a GS450, but I don't know much about them.


  3. #3
    Administrator borzwazie's Avatar
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    The CB350 twin is enough bike for what you're asking. There are parts everywhere for it, and they're cheap.

    The CB360 is a bit less common than the 350 twin, but also a nice bike in that size range.

    I have also seen some people do nice things with the late 70's/early 80's Honda CB/CM 400/450s. They don't lend themselves as easily to a cafe treatment, but we have at least one on this board that looks pretty nice. Easy to get parts for. I'd personally avoid the automatic.

    The early/mid 70's CB450 and 500 twins are nice bikes, if a little heavy, but it's easy to strip weight from them. Some parts are hard to get for them, especially cam chain rollers and front brake pistons on some years (they changed at some point, K4, I think). I have one of these so I can answer questions about it. Easy to find a cheap 450.

    On Honda 4s: it is my understanding that the 350F is hard to get parts for as it wasn't produced for a long time. The 400F is a better choice there but still not terribly common.

    The 500/550 4s seem to be fairly common to me the 550s more so, and pretty cheaply. The 750s are probably bigger than you want, and fairly heavy.

    The Yamaha XS650 is very common, and parts for it are stupid easy to get. It doesn't feel like a huge bike, either. It came in a couple versions, including a version for the cruiser market with a 16" rear wheel. Many, but not all parts interchange.

    People rave about the Suzuki GS series of bikes, and I know they had a GS450, but I don't know much about them.


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  5. #4
    Senior Member UncleErnie's Avatar
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    The only thing I can think of for $500 is a Honda CM400T. They're actually fun little bikes, but not poopular like the 350's have gotten (yet).
    LOOK OUT IT\'S COMING THIS WAY!

  6. #5
    Senior Member UncleErnie's Avatar
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    The only thing I can think of for $500 is a Honda CM400T. They're actually fun little bikes, but not poopular like the 350's have gotten (yet).
    LOOK OUT IT\'S COMING THIS WAY!

  7. #6
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    do you want something small and light or something that can carry a passenger? cause rare is the bike that can be both.

    what are your metrics? how big are you? (weight, height, etc) light is a relative thing - if you weigh 250lbs a 500 lb motorcycle is going to seem pretty light where as a 300 lb motorcycle will struggle with you aboard.

    Sub $500? are you fucking kidding me? really? `I mean there are running bikes out there for $500 but that begins to fall in the you take what you can get category. Beggars can't be choosers and at $500 you might as well be on a street corner with a cup of pencils in your hand.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    do you want something small and light or something that can carry a passenger? cause rare is the bike that can be both.

    what are your metrics? how big are you? (weight, height, etc) light is a relative thing - if you weigh 250lbs a 500 lb motorcycle is going to seem pretty light where as a 300 lb motorcycle will struggle with you aboard.

    Sub $500? are you fucking kidding me? really? `I mean there are running bikes out there for $500 but that begins to fall in the you take what you can get category. Beggars can't be choosers and at $500 you might as well be on a street corner with a cup of pencils in your hand.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  9. #8
    Member onesojourner's Avatar
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    Sorry about leaving out my size. I am about 5"11 155 and my wife is about 125.



    Geeto you didn't read my post:
    "I want something in the sub $500 range. Something I can work on a bit over the winter and get it running. I don't expect to find a running bike for under 500. I want something that needs a little work.
    cl360

  10. #9
    Member onesojourner's Avatar
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    Sorry about leaving out my size. I am about 5"11 155 and my wife is about 125.



    Geeto you didn't read my post:
    "I want something in the sub $500 range. Something I can work on a bit over the winter and get it running. I don't expect to find a running bike for under 500. I want something that needs a little work.
    cl360

  11. #10
    Senior Member Staggerlee's Avatar
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