good bikes for a "first time" project??
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good bikes for a "first time" project??

This is a discussion on good bikes for a "first time" project?? within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; hey guys, kinda need a little advice. like many other members, I am trying to get a little guidance. I know there's tons of knowledge ...

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Thread: good bikes for a "first time" project??

  1. #1
    Junior Member new2this's Avatar
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    good bikes for a "first time" project??

    hey guys, kinda need a little advice. like many other members, I am trying to get a little guidance. I know there's tons of knowledge floating around this forum and I'd love for you guys to chime in on this topic. I've been looking at the classifieds here in my home town trying find a good bike to "easily" convert to a cafe racer. Now I don't know very much about bikes but I do understand that taking on a build project with a classic bike can lead to a lot of issues. that's why I've been looking for a bike that runs well and can be easily converted. A bike that I myself can easily swap the seat, handle bars and gas tank without running into too many problems. I've come across two bikes so far that to me, had potential but from what I've read so far, they are not so good for a "first project" type of bike. They were the "1979 Honda cb400T" and the "1978 cx500" now I know an ideal bike would be a 1975 cb500/550/750 or an older triumph but those bikes are kinda hard to come by here in my area. There are some, but the ones I do come across are either well taken care of, mint condition classics that go for $4,000-$5,000 or rusted out barn bikes that need a ton of work. so my goal is to find a bike that runs good so that I don't have to mess with the engine too much and that i can kind of just focus on the aesthetics of the bike. that being said, are there any other late model bikes other than Honda, triumph, Norton, that are good for "first time" cafe racer project? I'm sure that yamaha and kawasaki have a few good models to start with but which models, I'm not sure. So if you guys could help me out by just suggesting a few late model bikes that would work for an easy first project cafe racer, that would be great. just so that I know what to search for in the classifieds. In the mean time I will keep searching and let you know what I find. thanks I appreciate any help.

  2. #2
    Junior Member new2this's Avatar
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    two that i've just come accross are 83' honda cbx 550f in great condition for $1,500 or a mint condition 1980 kawasaki KZ550 for $1,800. Are either of those a good bike for a cafe racer project? thanksName:  honda cbx.JPG
Views: 2481
Size:  81.3 KBName:  kawasaki.JPG
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Size:  20.2 KB
    Last edited by new2this; 01-03-2015 at 04:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jaguar's Avatar
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    Why dont you save yourself, and more importantly this forum, the time and read up here first.
    Maybe follow some direction and read the "newbies read first" posts as well as some other thread.
    Might help get a feel for what is valued here, this will give you an idea if you value the same thing.

    Ill skip again and ruin some of it.
    -there is no "conversion" to a cafe racer, this is hipster bullshit
    -the point is to improve performance of the motorcycle, not just to play dress up
    -the CB400T and CX500 SUCK
    -Your first bike should be neither vintage nor a project.

    Picking a real cafe racer base is super easy.
    Look for a motorcycle that was raced, then turn your street bike into a race bike.
    done
    I am Derby\'s Bitch


    Some times things come around that are so singularly inept it gives you a whole new appreciation for the ept

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  5. #4
    Senior Member roccitycafe's Avatar
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    Name:  honda cbx.JPG
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    I think you should get the cbx, it would make a decent cafe, just need a seat, some pods and clubmans, mostly an exercise in getting rid of extra weight, the muffler, front fender and old seat will probably shave off around 150-200 lbs, you could kneedent the tank as well, but you'll lose some fuel capacity, not too big a deal if you're just bombing around town though. I did a quick photoshop of some build ideas

  6. #5
    Junior Member new2this's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaguar View Post
    Why dont you save yourself, and more importantly this forum, the time and read up here first.
    Maybe follow some direction and read the "newbies read first" posts as well as some other thread.
    Might help get a feel for what is valued here, this will give you an idea if you value the same thing.

    Ill skip again and ruin some of it.
    -there is no "conversion" to a cafe racer, this is hipster bullshit
    -the point is to improve performance of the motorcycle, not just to play dress up
    -the CB400T and CX500 SUCK
    -Your first bike should be neither vintage nor a project.

    Picking a real cafe racer base is super easy.
    Look for a motorcycle that was raced, then turn your street bike into a race bike.
    done
    thanks for your reply jaguar. I think I understand where your coming from. So, if there's no such thing as a "conversion" to a cafe racer then what did you mean by 'turn your street bike into a "race bike"? what kind of race bike? "cafe style" perhaps? can't I take a regular street bike and make it look and feel like a real "cafe racer"? sorry, is that a typical "newbie" thing to do? something that is frowned upon here? if so, sorry about that. My goal is to have a bike that performs well and handles well and has certain design characteristics of a "cafe racer" but by no means do I want an actual "racing bike". essentially, I want the the look and feel of a cafe racer but just not the speed of one, well not yet anyway. so no, it won't be an actual "cafe racer" but it will have certain characteristics of one. Then again, you suggest my first bike shouldn't be a "project" so not sure what to do. Anyway I'm going to take your suggestion and check out those newbie threads. Thanks again.

  7. #6
    Junior Member new2this's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccitycafe View Post
    Name:  honda cbx.JPG
Views: 11082
Size:  94.3 KB

    I think you should get the cbx, it would make a decent cafe, just need a seat, some pods and clubmans, mostly an exercise in getting rid of extra weight, the muffler, front fender and old seat will probably shave off around 150-200 lbs, you could kneedent the tank as well, but you'll lose some fuel capacity, not too big a deal if you're just bombing around town though. I did a quick photoshop of some build ideas
    thanks man, appreciate you doing that photoshop, looks great! i"ll definitely consider it.
    Irish likes this.

  8. #7
    Senior Member DesmoDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2this View Post
    ...Then again, you suggest my first bike shouldn't be a "project" so not sure what to do. Anyway I'm going to take your suggestion and check out those newbie threads. Thanks again.
    The first thing you should do is take an MSF course or some other rider's course. You might not even like riding. Then you should buy a bike that runs and drives fine. Maintain that while you learn to ride, get an idea of what you want in a bike, get a feel for what's out there. Then start looking for a suitable project.
    -Craig
    The Mighty Monza Jr. Thread: https://www.caferacer.net/forum/proje...r-project.html

  9. #8
    Senior Member DesmoDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2this View Post
    thanks man, appreciate you doing that photoshop, looks great! i"ll definitely consider it.
    Either you are kidding or you didn't read what he posted...

    Getting back to the original post, I'm surprised that Suzuki TU250s aren't used more often as the basis for cafe racers. Would seem to me that it'd kick ass over a 40 year old CBwhatever for a bike that can be ridden while it's undergoing it's transformation.

    Last edited by DesmoDog; 01-03-2015 at 07:45 PM.
    MK3Brent likes this.
    -Craig
    The Mighty Monza Jr. Thread: https://www.caferacer.net/forum/proje...r-project.html

  10. #9
    Senior Member jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2this View Post
    thanks for your reply jaguar. I think I understand where your coming from. So, if there's no such thing as a "conversion" to a cafe racer then what did you mean by 'turn your street bike into a "race bike"? what kind of race bike? "cafe style" perhaps? can't I take a regular street bike and make it look and feel like a real "cafe racer"? sorry, is that a typical "newbie" thing to do? something that is frowned upon here? if so, sorry about that. My goal is to have a bike that performs well and handles well and has certain design characteristics of a "cafe racer" but by no means do I want an actual "racing bike". essentially, I want the the look and feel of a cafe racer but just not the speed of one, well not yet anyway. so no, it won't be an actual "cafe racer" but it will have certain characteristics of one. Then again, you suggest my first bike shouldn't be a "project" so not sure what to do. Anyway I'm going to take your suggestion and check out those newbie threads. Thanks again.
    Drop all talk of "style" or any other bullshit looks that you think this is all about.
    Pure and simple it is function, zero or very little thought given to looks. Never any thought of style, how well it will photograph or other played out and beaten claims to a "lifestyle"
    WAY to many that are coming to the hobby are looking to do little more then wax poetic on the internet and play a game of dress up at the local coffee shop.

    What I mean about no "conversion" is that this is a long term process or evolution. There is no build or something like that. You find a bike that has real performance, something that the type was raced. You then ride the shit out of it stock for a while. Over time you will figure out what the weak links are and then figure a way of upgrading those parts. This then makes the bike perform better and gets you closer to a race bike with plates.

    You can NOT just start with any old heap of shit bike. The bike needs to have a performance about it.

    A project bike for a first bike is a terrible idea. One of the few that is worse then having your first bike being vintage....

    Since I am actually trying to be more then just a blow hard dick on this board and offer some constructive feedback I need some information.
    -Have you ever ridden a motorcycle? If so how often?
    -Licensed?
    -Do you know the working end of a screwdriver?
    -what is your physical size?
    -Have you ever used a vintage vehicle on the road?
    -Do you have riding gear?

    One of the more over looked issue is funds. This is not a shoe string budget type hobby. The guys "back in the day" did not just slap shit together with no money......
    What is your budget right now to get into motorcycles? Not the "I want to find a $500 bike on craigslist and over the next year spend $37 per week on it, as long as the take out place I work at is busy"
    I am talking you have $XXXX to spend tomorrow if the right bike is found?

    Also, there once was a time that it was demanded for new people to fill in their bio so that the other members here could know where people where.
    Maybe there is someone here that is local to you that might be able to help set you on the right path, so fill the freaking bio out.
    And some would be willing to help with links to bikes on your local CL that might be worth a gander. I happen to charge $1 per listing past the initial 3. PM for paypal info.

    Oh coarse if this heap of shit gets your dick hard then maybe we should save some time. Just google dotheton and leave

    This would be the automotive equivalent if you are that new to bikes.
    I am Derby\'s Bitch


    Some times things come around that are so singularly inept it gives you a whole new appreciation for the ept

  11. #10
    Senior Member raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2this View Post
    thanks man, appreciate you doing that photoshop, looks great! i"ll definitely consider it.
    You are a hopeless if you actually think that he wasn't messing with you. And you are even more hopeless if you actually would consider doing that to a cbx550f thats as clean as the one in the pic appears to be.
    Bike:
    Buell X1
    Honda S90 (box of parts)
    Honda CB750C (runs)
    The Others (mostly rolling wounded)

    My collar may be a little frayed, and maybe I need a shoeshine. But nobody\'s got a mortgage on my soul. I own it. Free and clear. -Phil Lovecraft

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