1981 CB650C project
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1981 CB650C project

This is a discussion on 1981 CB650C project within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; I am just starting out on my first cafe project and I am new to the cafe style but love the look. I want to ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member jodoco's Avatar
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    1981 CB650C project

    I am just starting out on my first cafe project and I am new to the cafe style but love the look. I want to design and fab everything for my bike. I have heard good and bad things about the CB650C but I got it for nothing. I don't want to just bolt parts on I want the bike to have my personality and feel. Any help from anybody that understands what a real Cafe Racer style is I would really appreciate the input. I don't like the so called "bolt-on cafe" bikes because anyone with money can "put one together" like a kit car. I am giving myself 2-3 years to complete the project, working mostly on weekends and some nights.The hardest thing I have come across so far, even though I just started, is which style do I like. I like so many different things about so many bikes I would have to build about 20 bikes. So I am working on a design right now and hopefully I can put it down on paper first.

  2. #2
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Does your free CB650 run? Is it titled / registered / road ready? Have you owned / wrenched on bikes before? Do you have mechanical / technical abilities to manufacture your own parts? Do you have access to all the tools you'll need to make said parts?

    Forget about style and looks until you can answer all the above questions with a yes.

  3. #3
    Junior Member jodoco's Avatar
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    Yes I am mechanically inclined have had cycles from XR75, CX500Turbo to 1972 Indian dirt bike, built mini bikes when I was 10 owned 1968 El Camino SS 396, 1964 C-10 Chevy Truck with a 383 stroker I am switching from my love of muscle cars and old trucks to Cafe Racers. The engine I am rebuilding completely because it has been sitting for about 2 years. I want a real cafe.....that is why I would love input from the "real" folks that know the style not just buy the style !!

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  5. #4
    Senior Member dirkchecken's Avatar
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    ill let others reply to your "cafe racer" questions.maybe i can help w/ the cb650 questions. i have a 81c model (i paid $150) and theres reasons why there so cheap. although they will run good they will not make a good "cafe racer" the frames have strange shaped tubes. the 81 frame will not except the more sporty looking 79 gas tanks. leading axle forks,side panels are shapped funny, performance parts are?maybe a 4-1 header pipe. theres too much of a leap, i mean to go from cruiser type thru sportbike to cafe racer is to big of one . problems that you will face just getting the bike to run good will make you lose your hair. they will leak oil. and if the bike sits for more than a few months the carbs will need cleaning. and if your bike is a year 81 like mine. you will not get the carbs to run on all cyclinders. you will need a 1982 carb set. carb cleaner, acid, homemade remmedy's,praying, ulta sonic baths will not work. the pilot jets are pressed in. and corrosion mixed w/ the gas will close up the jet hole. you will not be able to clean them, so my advise is search ebay for a 82 carb set. complete gasketsets can be bought for around a $100.get her to run good and put some superbike bars on it.and look for another bike for your project
    I like my shocks like I like my women. Cheap and Chinese.

  6. #5
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Geeto will tell you about the style soon.

  7. #6
    Junior Member jodoco's Avatar
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    This is why I wanted to join this forum....where else can a person get real honest answers (opinions). People that have busted knuckles and brain cells doing what they love to do....by building this bike i will learn from my mistakes and from "you" guys that have done this before I hope to hear things that don't or won't work.....there is a reason it is called fabrication. I fabricated many parts for my '64 Chevy....and there are many f**k up pieces before the perfect one came to be. I appreciate the input and advice.

  8. #7
    Senior Member OC Steve's Avatar
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    Welcome, Jodoco. It's good to see that you want to take your time, and make some of your own parts. That makes me think you might actually be interested in craftsmanship.

    But just when I thought you were on the right page, you start going on about the "style" and "the look" and making a "design" drawing. Yikes. Are you going to build a motorcycle, or engage in a styling exercise? Are you focusing on a "look", or on the ride?

    Put away the drawing paper for a minute and focus on what you will be using the bike for, and what you want it to perform like. If you just want it to "stand out" at the local Starbucks, or if you just want to take your bike to shows, then by all means, start with a "style" or a "look" in mind. Just like they do on American Chopper! But if you want to ride fast on mountain roads, or fine-tune your riding skills on track days, then start with performance goals. The look (form) will follow the purpose (function).

    You may also be getting the cart in front of the horse in another way. Don't build a cafe racer by starting with whatever bike you happen to have at the moment (or whatever bike you can get for free). Start with the bike that is best (or at least plausible) for making what you want to end up with. You get very few points around here for trying to convert a sow's ear into a silk purse.

    Finally, read carefully what Hillsy asked you. He asked if your bike is running. You replied that you intend to rebuild the motor, since it has been sitting for two years. So, is it running or not? Read some of the previous threads on this forum, where we go on and on about getting a bike running before making any decisions about what to do with it.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to take the engine and all the electronics and stuff it in a cb500/550 four frame (1971-1978). You won't have a cb650 cafe but you'll have one heck of a cb550 special.hardly anybody is racing or has ever raced a cb650, but there are enough cb550s on the track for you to use as inspiration of how to make the bike better. Plus there are actually parts available for the cb550 chassis outside of the usual service stuff.

    stop trying to climb the impossible hill, find the best solution to the problem and go with that.
    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

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