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1981 Suzuki GS850 Cafe Racer

This is a discussion on 1981 Suzuki GS850 Cafe Racer within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Krapfever, Thanks for all the constructive advice! I knew coming to a forum like this would get me some good critique! I didnt even try ...

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  1. #11
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    Krapfever,
    Thanks for all the constructive advice! I knew coming to a forum like this would get me some good critique! I didnt even try to hide the fact that i painted parts of it. The carbs are a give away! I never try to fool pro's. My excuse was a really wierd oxidation/darkening that made them patchy. I swabbed them as clean as i could and sprayed and prayed.

    Ill be on the hunt for clipons. Any suggestions as far as rearsets to reposition my legs? Do they even make em for the 850? ive looked and looked (mabe in the wrong places) but not many turn ups for gs850 cafes. and YES--i hate the front tire too...but for now it keeps the bike off the ground till i go home and change it.
    Thanks sir.
    Anup
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

  2. #12
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    Here is my 1977 GS550 that I put together (took me 4 years due to being away at college)
    here is another picture
    and the engine
    Ive since replaced the jimmy rigged front signals with original model shiney blinker stems. The right side cover fell off on a long trip and so I took a course just so i could make a cover at our schools machine shop. was fun learning!

    Here is my 2002 Ducati Monster 620. I bought this one last summer.




    Let me know what you guys think!
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

  3. #13
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    Here is my 1977 GS550 that I put together (took me 4 years due to being away at college)
    here is another picture
    and the engine
    Ive since replaced the jimmy rigged front signals with original model shiney blinker stems. The right side cover fell off on a long trip and so I took a course just so i could make a cover at our schools machine shop. was fun learning!

    Here is my 2002 Ducati Monster 620. I bought this one last summer.




    Let me know what you guys think!
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

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  5. #14
    Senior Member lovethosetwins's Avatar
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    I can say I'm not nearly as "cafe culture" as most I suppose, and a bit new to this board in particular, but I think you'll be just fine. Krapfever made alot of good points. At the end of the day, it's not anywhere near as much about looks as it is how your bike performs and how you perform on it. My old buddy Tom used to say "power before pretty" and "it doesn't matter what it looks like unless it drives". I feel the same thing about car stereos, some people I see with chrome bits all over their cars with pounding stereo systems in their trunks, but who are dragging a tailpipe and screeching brake disks...

    The "original" cafe culture was a bunch of mod / beat / rocker "kids" in England (someone correct me here if necessary) who were into caffeine (and beer) and driving fast. The whole "cafe" thing was to see how fast you could get from one cafe to the next, call you buddy from the payphone and find out what you time was. It was a very competitive thing... Most importantly, and as Krapfever said, they did it with very little money. It's about ingenuity, skill, and well, sheer balls. The bikes tend to have a "look" to them because the mods that get done to the bikes are done for these reasons. Making stuff shiny is cool, and I'm definately one to make things shine. But like Tom said, "power before pretty". If that 850 runs nice and accelerates hard like it should, then you've got half of it sorted out already.

    I guess what I mean to say is, don't just do it as a fashion statement. It seems you love bikes, and old ones at that, so I think you'll be just fine

  6. #15
    Senior Member lovethosetwins's Avatar
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    I can say I'm not nearly as "cafe culture" as most I suppose, and a bit new to this board in particular, but I think you'll be just fine. Krapfever made alot of good points. At the end of the day, it's not anywhere near as much about looks as it is how your bike performs and how you perform on it. My old buddy Tom used to say "power before pretty" and "it doesn't matter what it looks like unless it drives". I feel the same thing about car stereos, some people I see with chrome bits all over their cars with pounding stereo systems in their trunks, but who are dragging a tailpipe and screeching brake disks...

    The "original" cafe culture was a bunch of mod / beat / rocker "kids" in England (someone correct me here if necessary) who were into caffeine (and beer) and driving fast. The whole "cafe" thing was to see how fast you could get from one cafe to the next, call you buddy from the payphone and find out what you time was. It was a very competitive thing... Most importantly, and as Krapfever said, they did it with very little money. It's about ingenuity, skill, and well, sheer balls. The bikes tend to have a "look" to them because the mods that get done to the bikes are done for these reasons. Making stuff shiny is cool, and I'm definately one to make things shine. But like Tom said, "power before pretty". If that 850 runs nice and accelerates hard like it should, then you've got half of it sorted out already.

    I guess what I mean to say is, don't just do it as a fashion statement. It seems you love bikes, and old ones at that, so I think you'll be just fine

  7. #16
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback!
    Yup Cafe culture def seems to keep functionality at the forefront. The bike is very fast and the guy who sold it to me said that it does better than 120 (he GPS tracked himself since the speedo isnt that accurate). This is as fast as my ducati i guess!!! I have a feeling the clutch is on her way out, so that comes next. The previous owner also said it had been jetted...but since i only rode it once after buying it(midwinter) i couldnt really verify.

    I would loove to put spoke wheels on the bike,,,but the thing is a shafty...how does that work? if i cant do anything about it..can i do something to make those wheels look nicer?
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

  8. #17
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback!
    Yup Cafe culture def seems to keep functionality at the forefront. The bike is very fast and the guy who sold it to me said that it does better than 120 (he GPS tracked himself since the speedo isnt that accurate). This is as fast as my ducati i guess!!! I have a feeling the clutch is on her way out, so that comes next. The previous owner also said it had been jetted...but since i only rode it once after buying it(midwinter) i couldnt really verify.

    I would loove to put spoke wheels on the bike,,,but the thing is a shafty...how does that work? if i cant do anything about it..can i do something to make those wheels look nicer?
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

  9. #18
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    culture? gimmie a fucking break.....

    I had a gs850 and the only thing I hated about it was the shaft drive - unless you are bmw a performance motorcycle does not have shaft drive. The 1977-79 GS 750 motor is the same except for chain drive and guys used to take the 850 top ends and put them on 750s. The leading axle forks are also kinda suck.

    but hey at least you are doing it, more than I can say about a lot of people. Whoever told you you need ta certain part for your bike to be considered <insert label here> is full of shit. As long as you are riding it that is the key.

    That bike reminds me of the mid-late 1970s cafe bikes, before superbikes started to come into vogue. Part Flat tracker, part chopper, part 60's cafe racer and all chick magnet.....ditch the flat black gay as hell played out paint and give it a heavy metalflake green scheme with orange and yellow panel or lace graphics and then go around and tell people you found it in a barn and it was some local racer's personal street bike. Thow a set of vintage looking race shocks on the rear just to make it look convincing. Oh and gold plating is your friend.
    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

  10. #19
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    oh and for future reference:

    pouser shit:
    - Knee dents without increasing the capacity of your tank
    - clubman bars that create uncomfortable riding positons (if your knees touch your elbows)
    - 16" rear wheels as part of the cafe look (you are kinda stuck with this as there are no good gs850 wheel options)
    - the belief that a cafe bike is defined by its parts and not its use.

    as someone who also has a higher than college education, I can understand how it is really easy to talk about this stuff in terms of educated principles like culture and what have you but knock it off, seriously. Real cafe culture from the 60's europe (rockers) are just a bunch of dirtbags that popular media made look cool, but in reality are like 1950's greasers here in the states - none are the Fonz but plenty were just petty theives, hoods, and general deliquents. "Cafe culture" now is just a bunch of hipster douchebags who bought into the Quadrophenia and Happy days image of coolness and all want the look of vintage bikes with none of the stripes that come with it. Bikes don;t have culture, people have culture and right now the culture part of this hobby is infected with people with more fashion sense than bike sense.

    you won't a cafe bike? build the bike and don't worry about the culture - it is just a buch of scenesters jerking each other off anyway.
    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

  11. #20
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    Geeto,
    The bike still has a long way to go in my mind, and Ive only had a couple days around it. You got any samples of the paint scheme you were talking about (or were you being sarcastic?). I want to teach myself how to do fiberglass, and paint and some basic metalwork, just so i can be well rounded. I'm not really blindly following anybody's lead, just trying to participate in the forum. I'll try my best to implement the good thats been said.
    Says you're in NYC, whereabouts? Might I have seen your work rolling around somewhere?
    -The newcomer.
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

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