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Newbie from blacksburg VA

This is a discussion on Newbie from blacksburg VA within the NEW MEMBERS READ HERE! forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hey guys, I am new to the whole motorcycle scene. I used to race dirtbikes. I raced for about 12 years and decided to throw ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member VTFrancis's Avatar
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    Newbie from blacksburg VA

    Hey guys, I am new to the whole motorcycle scene. I used to race dirtbikes. I raced for about 12 years and decided to throw in the boots. I no longer have time to ride my dirtbike as much as I would like with being at school and all but I do miss the feeling of two wheels in-between my legs. So I am trying to find a good starter bike that can be transformed into somewhat of a cafe racer. I live in a pretty urban area so I don't need anything much larger than a 550. I don't plan on riding this thing cross country or any more than just to and from class and sunday cruises through the mountain roads.

    I have found a 1982 Yamaha XJ 550 Maxim with 12,000 miles on it. They person only wants $950. I went and looked at the bike, and it was clean and road really well. Its a solid bike that has just enough ass to keep me honest but not too much. It handled really well but I am unsure if this is a bike I can turn into a decent cafe racer. Its all original so it would be mainly cosmetic work.

    So my main questions are, Is this a good starter bike? Can it be transformed into cafe racer with enough tlc? or should I keep looking?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member woodsman's Avatar
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    Good starter bike, never be a sport bike.

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    Senior Member TrialsRider's Avatar
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    If you raced dirt for 12 years, you are hardly new to motorcycles :/ does not compute.
    If you want a cafe racer, you don't want to start out with a chopper styled custom, but you should know that!

    You test rode a 1982 Yamaha XJ 550 Maxim and thought it handled really well! Seriously!
    I'm guessing this must be the first 4 cylinder motorcycle that you have ever ridden and you fell in love with some power because there is nothing about that bike that implies good handling. You seriously need to test ride more motorcycles.

    What model bikes did you race in those 12 years? "Its all original so it would be mainly cosmetic work." <- I getting the impression you are one of those guys who has been watching too many racerTV videos on youtube and believe that a "cafe racer" is a stock bike with a bunch of the parts removed. Maybe you should post a photo of what you are aiming for; What do you consider as the cafe racer of your dreams and then we can tell you why it's a good or bad idea.

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    Junior Member VTFrancis's Avatar
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    I raced from 50's all the way up to 250's. I have test rode a kawasaki 750, and a 1981 750. I know it is more than just pulling stuff off and putting new on. I don't have the tools at schools to buy something that doesn't run and looks horrific. I would love to start with a cb 550. But they are so scarce around me. And I the 750 has the size engine of a car and I can't really see getting the exact look out of it.

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    Junior Member VTFrancis's Avatar
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    Idea of what I am shooting for

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    This is what I am shooting for EVENTUALLY!

  7. #6
    Junior Member VTFrancis's Avatar
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    I mean give me some ideas on something good to start with that has good geometry to be a cafe racer

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    Senior Member Stephen J's Avatar
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    I think the words Cafe and racer need to get a divorce. It's time to start seeing other people. To so many now they hear the words and what you posted is what comes to mind.


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    If you can't pick it back up, don't ride it.

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    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
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    Go ahead and get the 550. It is one of the few cruiser bikes that you can do something with and the only one of the Maxim 4 cylinders with chain drive. What few people know is that the 550 maxim frame was the basis for the YX600 Radian, so there are a variety of pieces available that can be made to work. The blue bike you posted has an XJ750RJ Seca tank on it. The Radian, 650 Seca, 550 Seca and 400 Seca tank can allbe made to fit without too much work. ALso, carbs and pipes for the Radian and the FJ600 and FZ600 will fit on the 550 Maxim. The part I like the least about the Maxims are the swirly wheels. Seca 550 wheels will bolt right on. I have a set you can have for the cost of shipping. If you want to switch to a rear disc, then you can all kinds of wheels that will pretty much bolt up.

    If you like the 550, get it. I have a Seca550 and a handful of FZ600.s and used to race an FJ600 back in the day, so I know a little bit about these. By the way, don't remove the airbox and expect it to run well with the stock carbs. I also have a spare 550 motor in pieces if it turns out you need parts.
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  10. #9
    Junior Member VTFrancis's Avatar
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    Thanks! and noted!

  11. #10
    Fk5
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    Senior Member Fk5's Avatar
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    I don't think the tank on that blue bike is from a 750 Seca. I have one and the tank pulls way further down in the back than the blue bike. I think that is a 550 Seca tank

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