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Discussion Starter #1
hello and thanks for your replies ahead of time. Im thinking about getting stared with my first cafe racer project. The bike im looking at is as noted in the suject line. My question is; is this an ok bike to start with. A guy I work with has it sitting in his garage and will part with it for $450, he tells me it just had the carbs done and runs well. I havent looked at it yet but im not to worried about how it looks since i plan to strip it to the frame and rebuild just about everything anyway.

thanks agian for your input
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yes its a gs450, i didnt ask about the title yet but in CT i only need a legit bill of sale if its more then 10 years old, it is registered and on the road but that doesnt nessassarly mean it would still pass an inspection today, i dont know if everything works since i havent seen it in person yet but ill be sure to check before buying anything.

About the compression, is there an easy way to test this? Do I remove a spark plug and use a gauge in the head to do this? Thanks for bringing up this question I didnt even think about it.
 

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Strip it to the frame huh? Do you even own tools?

I can understand about not caring about the cosmetics but just to let you know as a newbie, you do all your mods with the bike assembled and running.

"taking it down to the frame" is really only for cosmetics and for Television chopper builders to make what they do more dynamic than it really is. In truth if you are really building a proper stripped down street bike with racing influence you will probably build this bike 2 or 3 times as you strip small sections of it down to do custom work, rebuild, test it, strip it down again...you get the idea.

My advice, run the bike as she came for the rest of the summer. Ride it and get to know it and what it needs, and what you need out of it. I think what will surprise you is how much the project will change around what you need to get out of the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do own tools and I have resonable amount of mechanical experiance though I have never done a compression test. This is not a first bike either (just my first pass at a vintage bike), it would be my fourth including my current daily commuter ('99 Speed Triple). I do all my own work on my bikes. The reason for striping the frame is to be able to properly clean and powder coat the it and any other parts. Im more interested in the process and the project then anything else. I can understand if you think that makes me a poser or if its not in the spirt of what you guys are about but give me a chance maybe after I get into it I'll come around and understande where your coming from. I can see what you mean by doing things 2 or 3 or even more times before I get it right though, maybe worry more about running it around to see how it feels change some things learn about the bike then if i feel commited enough to an idea strip the frame and engine to do a major cleaning and coating.
 

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now that is more of an introduction!

every newbie gets a little shit....it is not personal, basically triggered by newbie cliche's like "gonna strip it to the frame", "how do I pound knee dents", or something to that effect. It doesn't help if in your first post you don't really intorduce yourself or tell us anything about you.

On the subject of "powdercoat" - well are you going to show it or are you going to ride it?

the UPs of powdercoat:
- Durable
- hard shine that is easy to maintain
- does not easily discolor or stain

The Downs of powdercoat:
- if you chip it you can't touch it up
- hides rust
- when it goes bad it flakes off.
- you have to strip EVERYTHING off the frame to do it
- some areas it costs a fortune (in NY a powdercoated frame is near $500).
- when it goes bad it flakes off in huge chunks.

If you are building a show bike to parade from parking lot to parking lot powdercoat it. If you want to actually ride the thing, get yourself a couple cans of rustoleum "stops rust", some sand paper, and go to work. Certain parts, like wheels, make sense to powdercoat but, doing the whole frame rarely does not because of the amount of pre and post prep work for what is essentially a medicore finish.

Let me give you the newbie old bike primer:

- old bikes are not like new bikes. They are complicated in that they are simpler. if your new bike goes bad you usually replace a system (ie fuel pump, throttle body, sensor, etc). On an old bike if the petcock goes bad you rebuild it, same with the carbs, most shoips won't touch it and you have to rely on 2 or 3 manuals and outdated advice from oldtimers.

- On the subject of a compression test. You will need a compression tester which is a gauge that screws into the spark plug hole. Try to get one with the same plug thread as the bike, otherwise you will need to make one out of an old plug and some rubber hose. DOn't try to force the CT bung in there because if you strip that spark plug thread that motor has to come apart. Warm the bike up to operating temp. Install the compression tester in the number one cylinder. Crank it over a bunch of times. note reading (it should be over 100 psi). Remove tester, put plug back in and repeat the process on cylinder #2. note pressue and compare it to cylinder #1. the two cylinder should be within 10% of each other (e.g. 100 psi in #1 and 110 psi in # 2 is good). If one cylinder is severly low, pour a little oil in the cylinder, turn it over without the plug in so you don't hyrdo lock it, and then take another reading. If the PSI increases considerably then the rings in that cylinder are shit.

the nice part about the gs450 twin is that the later gs500 engines will bolt in and they made those bikes until the early 2000s, so if the motor is junk, offer to haul the bike away for peanuts and go get your self a gs500 mill and build a mini hotrod.

- On the subject of titles: it is ALWAYS more work to register a bike without title than it is with title, regardless of state. Plus it insures that the bike you are getting is not stolen. If he is selling without a title, that is a major negitation point and really unless it is british or super rare should not be anywhere near $1000 running or not. You may think it is a non issue in CT , but let me tell you, if it is anywhere near the headache that it is to register a pre 1973 titleless vehicle in NY you will wish the seller had just kicked you in the nuts instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the tips. Looks like I have a lot to learn and will probably make a lot of mistakes before I get things right. Theres a lot in your last post for me to chew on but Im happy to hear this will be an ok bike to introduce myself to caferacers. I do want to have the bike streetable so I'll have to rethink my additude toward this bike resotation and modification.
 

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making mistakes is what it is all about. if we didn't make them there would be nothing bike related to talk about on the internet.

basically, attack the bike with a plan and you will get it done a lot quicker and easier than you could have imagined. the projects that never get completed are the ones where a tank and a seat just get thrown at the bike and the builder doesn't really know where to go next. Having the bike near running during the buildup means that if you get frustrated or stumped, you can throw it back together and go for a ride and remind yourself and get back on track.
 

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Couple of things:

Compression Test - make sure you hold the throttle fully open when you crank the motor to get an accurate reading.

GS500 motors - I don't believe they will fit a GS450 frame because the exhaust ports are straighter and foul the downtubes.

Other than that, Geeto has hit the nail on the head.
 

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quote:Originally posted by hillsy

Couple of things:

Compression Test - make sure you hold the throttle fully open when you crank the motor to get an accurate reading.

glad you caught that.

good comp should probably be up around the 160 or higher mark. bad com would be down around the 110-120 mark. dont run the motor, just turn it over. so, hit the kill switch, or pull the coil wire.

remember, powder coating is nice, but paint is easily removable with thinner, and retouchable. p-coat is not. on a frame, you better get everything right before you start powder coating. the new coatings available are spectacular. and someone who knows what they are doing can do a really kick ass job. and you will rub through it with a boot, o pants leg eventually. something to keep in mind.
 

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as long as its not the "L" model it'll be cool, welcome to the board. hard to know how this is going to fit in, if the other option is a speed triple. but fun to find out I suspect.
cheers, bcr
 

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I agree with the panel, if you powder coat then if you change to ,say rear sets and weld a tab on the frame you can't toutchup the powdercoat like you could with spray paint. As for title ,if the bike has changed hands and no tax has been paid the state may want tax and penalty. The one I did cost me a little over $300. for the bike then over $400. in back sales tax and penaltys, be carefull! Every Suzuki I've ever had has been a rock solid dependable bike. welcome to the club!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
thanks for the warm welcome and all tips, i cant wait to get started on this project. btw bcr the triumph s3 is my everyday ride the suzuki will be my project; well if i buy it. I dont want to rush in if its not the right bike for me.
 

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how tall are you, how much do you weigh? physical dimensions are always important when you are talking about hotrodding little tiddlers from the past (not that the gs450 qualifies as a little tiddler). On modern bikes it matters not since most of them have more hp than most small cars but if you are 6'5" riding a gs450 is going to make you look like that bear at the circus that wears a fez and drives the tiny car, no matter how cool the bike looks standing still. Also if you are plus 200 lbs you may want to think about something in the 750cc class of bikes because it kinda defeats the purpose of riding a smallish cafe bike if you are going to squash it's 36 hp with your fat ass (not that you have a fat ass or anything just making a point).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
im 5'10" and 155lbs. im second quessing this bike though. first problem is that i cant find info on a 1979 gs 450. from what i can tell it must be a 425 or a 400 or this guys got the year wrong. the other thing is i found a '71 honda cb500 today for about $500 that runs great but needs a good deal of cosmetic work. my research though seems to show that the cbs are more popular and maybe itll be easyer to find parts for it; is this true or my imagination?. the extra ponies would be welcome too.
 

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cb500 isn't going to have extra ponies (or if it does it comes with a weight penalty). However it is not your imagination, the cb500/550 bikes have a lot more aftermarkets parts and a decent resale value if cafe'd.

you need to watch the clutch on these bikes, they are a garbage design, most people swap in a 550 motor to cure the problem (the cases are mostly the same so the mounts fit).
 

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the GS450L came out in 1980 (before the other 450 models). If that is the case it would have a build date of 1979 on the neck tag, which a lot of people confuse for model year (Sometimes it does stand for model year - I think the gov't mandated the model year be on there in big block letter starting in 1981 or 1982). Either way it is an l model which means factory "chopper" model which means you should run screaming in the other direction. Always check the title against the neck tag and the stamped frame number.

Of course you could always post a pic of the bike you are looking at and have us identify it for you.
 

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ian,

whatever bike you chose (i'm partial to CB500's as it was my first, all together, running street bike....don't ask about the 7 year Benelli Basket Case Project).....look into PJ-1 enamel spray paints. Lance and I used them in the shop (Rickey Racer) and they always did a great job on the "cheap and cheerful" restorations that Lance was fond of.

good luck....and post pics or links to these bikes so we can second and third guess you (lol).

tex
 
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