Which bike is easier to turn into a cafe racer? - Page 3

Which bike is easier to turn into a cafe racer?

This is a discussion on Which bike is easier to turn into a cafe racer? within the Technical forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; It's your time and money, so go forth and you'll learn a lot in the process. If there is one nugget of advice I can ...

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Thread: Which bike is easier to turn into a cafe racer?

  1. #21
    Member Mike Lawless's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Central California
    It's your time and money, so go forth and you'll learn a lot in the process. If there is one nugget of advice I can offer that I learned the hard way, is research replacement parts before deciding which bike to buy.
    Like you, I am a car guy. A rather accomplished car guy and fabricator, with considerable equipment resources from a lifetime of tool investment.

    But I didn't do my due diligence before purchasing my first project and the bike I chose has virtually no aftermarket support. While I was able to complete my project, I ended up making compromises and adaptations because certain parts are simply not available. Someone with basic tools and no fab skills would either have had to pay someone to do a lot of the work, or abandon the exercise.

    I did learn a lot in the process! The knowledge gained was worth the price.
    Mike Lawless
    The older I get, the more everyone can just kiss my ass

  2. #22
    Member overdraft's Avatar
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    May 2009
    victoria, bc, Canada.
    agreed. parts supply is an issue when you're working with old bikes and well worth putting into your decision making process. obviously if you're dead set on a specific model then that doesn't factor into it, but if you're weighing options then it's worth considering.
    when it comes to parts there are two components to the decision:
    1. production volume - if they made a shit-ton of the bike then you'll have better luck getting parts
    2. manufacturer support - certain manufacturers have more appetite for maintaining old parts inventories
    with respect to 2. in my experience:
    Honda - excellent parts support for old models (although not everything is available)
    Yamaha - next best to Honda... very comparable
    Suzuki - some parts are available
    Kawasaki - come on man! it's 10 years old! we don't stock that shit!
    Piaggio (Aprilia/Moto-Guzzi) - sorry, we can't even get parts for our new bikes...
    Dean likes this.
    1970 CB350K2

  3. #23
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Columbus, Ohio
    actually kawasaki is pretty good - I managed to buy a brand new fairing piece for a 1986 Ninja 1000R from a dealer. Not an old leftover in inventory - a brand new part.

    Suzuki - you have to go to Paul Miller as he goes around and buys up all the old dealer inventory. Still suzuki shocked me by stocking a new seat for my 1977 GS750.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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  5. #24
    Member overdraft's Avatar
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    May 2009
    victoria, bc, Canada.
    I worked for a dealership that was an authorized Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha and Piaggio dealer, and previousy a Suzuki dealer, so that overall impression of the part support was directly from my parts counter guys (and girls).
    I suppose it's possible that Canadian support is different that in the US! Also, if your local dealer is an old shop you may find they have older parts on the shelf.
    1970 CB350K2

  6. #25
    Senior Member Tanshanomi's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Kansas City
    I worked as a parts guy in dealerships from '85 until '91. At least at that time Kawasaki had a habit of "de-obsoleting" certain parts (usually painted parts). Things that had been listed as "unavailable" for some time would suddenly be available again, without any notice other than the availablity code in the price list. A customer of mine scored brand new side covers, tank and tail cowl for a '73 Z-1 painted in the correct rootbeer & orange factory colors. They were only available for a very short time, I learned later. I simply bothered to check while they happened to be available, instead of being a lazy slacker and saying "oh, no, you can't get those."

  7. #26
    Senior Member crazypj's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Altamonte Springs, Fl. USA, Bridgend, South Wales, U.K.
    Honda will re-manufacture parts if there are enough dealer inquiries (which is why you can get a brand new genuine exhaust system for CB750 SOHC) Kawasaki are know to do the same.
    Yamaha, they sell new bikes, parts will be available later (sometimes much much later )
    I dabble in rocket science, when I\'m not picking my nose
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  8. #27
    Senior Member JM360's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Highland Village, Texas, USA.
    well crazypj made some bits for my 360 for me, but fairly certain he is not really crazy. If you give $1.500 for a 360 its not already just like you want it. go ahead and check yourself in somewhere. Did not check the weight on mine while stock but it was supposed to weigh 370. I would say that's most likely very close. Its way lighter now. The KZ it will be north of 500 lb to start with. You can never get rid of the four cylinder its pig weight and width. If you want more power do the four. if you want in town light flickable fun do the twin. Lighter motorcycle and narrow engine.

    I just bought a 72 CB450 Honda all original, 6000 miles. chrome not pitted anywhere $500.00. I know the people that had it from 1975. You have permission granted sir to check yourself in for some help from somebody.

    same friend of mine HAS a 76 standard KZ 650 just as nice. if your going fat its maybe another 15/20 lbs more power.
    Last edited by JM360; 03-15-2014 at 12:04 PM.
    Weak as wet toilet paper.

    1967-CL77, 1975-CL360, 2011-DR650SE

  9. #28
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Galena, AK, USA.
    If you are really limiting yourself to those 2 choices, then go with the Kawasaki. I think it is the better bike, especially if they are the same price. Don't worry about the aftermarket difference, you can get tires, chains, exhausts, bars and other maintenance items for either of them. Anything else won't be bolt on anyway.
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  10. #29
    Junior Member 350Astro's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I agree with Geeto 67. I just bought a 92 883 Sportster to build a cafe bike out of. Someone has dumped a pile of dough in it. Has a full bore Stroz kit in it. I bought it for less than the cost of the parts,never mind the bike. Has 16,000 km on it. All I need is the seat and tank along with clipons and it's good to go. Don't buy junk. If you are not a hands on guy, buy something that runs and lends itself to conversion. I looked for years for this bike. Too many people bite off too much, sink a ton of money into a project and get frustrated because they can't finish or ride it. Don't buy the first piece of shit that comes by. Do your homework. Enough said. Fred.

  11. #30
    Junior Member Jumlas22's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Rockland county, NY
    great! thanks for the advice all!

    i am scanning bikes now for thier aftermarket and part accessability and i have widened up my options now for what i am going to work with. I am headed out to look at an 82 CB650 sc. not that big in the accessability of parts but it just needs a little carb cleaning and a new battery, standard procedure as it has been since last fall. if not its back to square 1 again in the hunt. i found a running cb350 but its far from me and a little too pricy for me and doesnt need anything done to it so i wouldnt have anything to work on. and as always if i give up in this vintage endeavor, i can just get an 07 thruxton.

    now all that i need now is a little bit of warm weather!

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