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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,
Im a Medical student, whos been into motorcycles for a long time.
I wanted to share my first light hearted cafe attempt with the experts on this forum.
My current bikes are - 1977 suzuki gs550, 2002 ducati monster 620, 1981 suzuki gs850.
Heres my 850 when i bought it. Grubby and Greasy.

After a weeks worth of polishing and touch on the engine alone...here is what i came up with :

Now i dont mean to deceive anyone...the parts are not polished aluminum...some are...but the look i acheived mainly by some clean coats of silver spray paint. Being a student doctor i dont have the time to actually grind-polish the aluminum.
For some cafe touches i added clubman handlebars and some nice chrome bar-end mirrors. I know cafe culture...and that clip ons are for the true.BUT-- I am hair deep in student loans and cant afford the serious mods...so go easy on me. Heres how it looks after removing the home depot flat-rat bars.

I even messed around with a paint can on the tank..teardrop on the tank instead of the knee recess..literally messed around and ruined lol. BUT i know its going to get a serious coat of paint when i come back home for vaction, so what the heck!

I KNOW it needs a new bumstop seat- so dont pick on me haha! I will teach myself how to do fiberglass or grab one off the net. New rear pirelli and new stator bit a chunk out of my budget so...now things are slow. I also got a chrome front fender - cuz i just like nice chrome on some parts.
Thanks for lookin, and let me know if u have any advice.
 

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It doesn't look bad. It runs so it's cool with me. Ditch the highway bars though. What do the other bikes look like?
 

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It doesn't look bad. It runs so it's cool with me. Ditch the highway bars though. What do the other bikes look like?
 

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Hey, welcome. You seem like a real nice guy and your heart's in the right place. You asked for advice and...well, let me put it this way:

You're a med student, right? You're in residency? You know how the senior residents and docs are real hard and abusive on the new residents? How its kind of a baptism-in-fire sort of thing until you prove yourself?

Yeah. You might get a little bit of that here.

There are definitely some pros on this board and when they flame a new guy, they are not being typical know-it-all internet pricks who simply sit around and pass judgment. These folks ride, race and most importantly build their own bikes; from the wheels up. They know their shit. Thoroughly.

That said,

Put. The. Rattle. Can. Aluminum. Down.

I know money's tight. I built a bike in grad school too. But painting carbs is a no-no.

The ergonomics are all wrong for clubmans too. You appear to be somewhat tall. Your seat is low, your handlebars are low and your footpegs are high. Aside from an apparent lack of clearance between your hands and the tank (which diminishes turning radius) the position of your bars can bind your arms in quick turning situations and severely strain your wrists and lower back on long rides. Consider a return to the drag bars or save up for some adjustable clip-ons. This has to do with control on a heavy, powerful bike (with a kind of tire I personally consider at best unpleasant--at worst downright dangerous--on the front).

All I'm saying is that this is whole thing is about making a fast, nimble, stripped-down and tuned bike that allows you to get on it, feel right at home and ride hard.

Oh, and in its purest form it means doing it with little to no money.
 

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Hey, welcome. You seem like a real nice guy and your heart's in the right place. You asked for advice and...well, let me put it this way:

You're a med student, right? You're in residency? You know how the senior residents and docs are real hard and abusive on the new residents? How its kind of a baptism-in-fire sort of thing until you prove yourself?

Yeah. You might get a little bit of that here.

There are definitely some pros on this board and when they flame a new guy, they are not being typical know-it-all internet pricks who simply sit around and pass judgment. These folks ride, race and most importantly build their own bikes; from the wheels up. They know their shit. Thoroughly.

That said,

Put. The. Rattle. Can. Aluminum. Down.

I know money's tight. I built a bike in grad school too. But painting carbs is a no-no.

The ergonomics are all wrong for clubmans too. You appear to be somewhat tall. Your seat is low, your handlebars are low and your footpegs are high. Aside from an apparent lack of clearance between your hands and the tank (which diminishes turning radius) the position of your bars can bind your arms in quick turning situations and severely strain your wrists and lower back on long rides. Consider a return to the drag bars or save up for some adjustable clip-ons. This has to do with control on a heavy, powerful bike (with a kind of tire I personally consider at best unpleasant--at worst downright dangerous--on the front).

All I'm saying is that this is whole thing is about making a fast, nimble, stripped-down and tuned bike that allows you to get on it, feel right at home and ride hard.

Oh, and in its purest form it means doing it with little to no money.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
you mean ditch the crash guard(which used to have the highway pegs)?
I'll load some pics of the other bikes as well.
Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
you mean ditch the crash guard(which used to have the highway pegs)?
I'll load some pics of the other bikes as well.
Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Krapfever,
Thanks for all the constructive advice! I knew coming to a forum like this would get me some good critique! I didnt even try to hide the fact that i painted parts of it. The carbs are a give away! I never try to fool pro's. My excuse was a really wierd oxidation/darkening that made them patchy. I swabbed them as clean as i could and sprayed and prayed.

Ill be on the hunt for clipons. Any suggestions as far as rearsets to reposition my legs? Do they even make em for the 850? ive looked and looked (mabe in the wrong places) but not many turn ups for gs850 cafes. and YES--i hate the front tire too...but for now it keeps the bike off the ground till i go home and change it.
Thanks sir.
Anup
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Krapfever,
Thanks for all the constructive advice! I knew coming to a forum like this would get me some good critique! I didnt even try to hide the fact that i painted parts of it. The carbs are a give away! I never try to fool pro's. My excuse was a really wierd oxidation/darkening that made them patchy. I swabbed them as clean as i could and sprayed and prayed.

Ill be on the hunt for clipons. Any suggestions as far as rearsets to reposition my legs? Do they even make em for the 850? ive looked and looked (mabe in the wrong places) but not many turn ups for gs850 cafes. and YES--i hate the front tire too...but for now it keeps the bike off the ground till i go home and change it.
Thanks sir.
Anup
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here is my 1977 GS550 that I put together (took me 4 years due to being away at college)

here is another picture

and the engine

Ive since replaced the jimmy rigged front signals with original model shiney blinker stems. The right side cover fell off on a long trip and so I took a course just so i could make a cover at our schools machine shop. was fun learning!

Here is my 2002 Ducati Monster 620. I bought this one last summer.




Let me know what you guys think!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here is my 1977 GS550 that I put together (took me 4 years due to being away at college)

here is another picture

and the engine

Ive since replaced the jimmy rigged front signals with original model shiney blinker stems. The right side cover fell off on a long trip and so I took a course just so i could make a cover at our schools machine shop. was fun learning!

Here is my 2002 Ducati Monster 620. I bought this one last summer.




Let me know what you guys think!
 

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I can say I'm not nearly as "cafe culture" as most I suppose, and a bit new to this board in particular, but I think you'll be just fine. Krapfever made alot of good points. At the end of the day, it's not anywhere near as much about looks as it is how your bike performs and how you perform on it. My old buddy Tom used to say "power before pretty" and "it doesn't matter what it looks like unless it drives". I feel the same thing about car stereos, some people I see with chrome bits all over their cars with pounding stereo systems in their trunks, but who are dragging a tailpipe and screeching brake disks...

The "original" cafe culture was a bunch of mod / beat / rocker "kids" in England (someone correct me here if necessary) who were into caffeine (and beer) and driving fast. The whole "cafe" thing was to see how fast you could get from one cafe to the next, call you buddy from the payphone and find out what you time was. It was a very competitive thing... Most importantly, and as Krapfever said, they did it with very little money. It's about ingenuity, skill, and well, sheer balls. The bikes tend to have a "look" to them because the mods that get done to the bikes are done for these reasons. Making stuff shiny is cool, and I'm definately one to make things shine. But like Tom said, "power before pretty". If that 850 runs nice and accelerates hard like it should, then you've got half of it sorted out already.

I guess what I mean to say is, don't just do it as a fashion statement. It seems you love bikes, and old ones at that, so I think you'll be just fine :)
 

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I can say I'm not nearly as "cafe culture" as most I suppose, and a bit new to this board in particular, but I think you'll be just fine. Krapfever made alot of good points. At the end of the day, it's not anywhere near as much about looks as it is how your bike performs and how you perform on it. My old buddy Tom used to say "power before pretty" and "it doesn't matter what it looks like unless it drives". I feel the same thing about car stereos, some people I see with chrome bits all over their cars with pounding stereo systems in their trunks, but who are dragging a tailpipe and screeching brake disks...

The "original" cafe culture was a bunch of mod / beat / rocker "kids" in England (someone correct me here if necessary) who were into caffeine (and beer) and driving fast. The whole "cafe" thing was to see how fast you could get from one cafe to the next, call you buddy from the payphone and find out what you time was. It was a very competitive thing... Most importantly, and as Krapfever said, they did it with very little money. It's about ingenuity, skill, and well, sheer balls. The bikes tend to have a "look" to them because the mods that get done to the bikes are done for these reasons. Making stuff shiny is cool, and I'm definately one to make things shine. But like Tom said, "power before pretty". If that 850 runs nice and accelerates hard like it should, then you've got half of it sorted out already.

I guess what I mean to say is, don't just do it as a fashion statement. It seems you love bikes, and old ones at that, so I think you'll be just fine :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the feedback!
Yup Cafe culture def seems to keep functionality at the forefront. The bike is very fast and the guy who sold it to me said that it does better than 120 (he GPS tracked himself since the speedo isnt that accurate). This is as fast as my ducati i guess!!! I have a feeling the clutch is on her way out, so that comes next. The previous owner also said it had been jetted...but since i only rode it once after buying it(midwinter) i couldnt really verify.

I would loove to put spoke wheels on the bike,,,but the thing is a shafty...how does that work? if i cant do anything about it..can i do something to make those wheels look nicer?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the feedback!
Yup Cafe culture def seems to keep functionality at the forefront. The bike is very fast and the guy who sold it to me said that it does better than 120 (he GPS tracked himself since the speedo isnt that accurate). This is as fast as my ducati i guess!!! I have a feeling the clutch is on her way out, so that comes next. The previous owner also said it had been jetted...but since i only rode it once after buying it(midwinter) i couldnt really verify.

I would loove to put spoke wheels on the bike,,,but the thing is a shafty...how does that work? if i cant do anything about it..can i do something to make those wheels look nicer?
 

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culture? gimmie a fucking break.....

I had a gs850 and the only thing I hated about it was the shaft drive - unless you are bmw a performance motorcycle does not have shaft drive. The 1977-79 GS 750 motor is the same except for chain drive and guys used to take the 850 top ends and put them on 750s. The leading axle forks are also kinda suck.

but hey at least you are doing it, more than I can say about a lot of people. Whoever told you you need ta certain part for your bike to be considered <insert label here> is full of shit. As long as you are riding it that is the key.

That bike reminds me of the mid-late 1970s cafe bikes, before superbikes started to come into vogue. Part Flat tracker, part chopper, part 60's cafe racer and all chick magnet.....ditch the flat black gay as hell played out paint and give it a heavy metalflake green scheme with orange and yellow panel or lace graphics and then go around and tell people you found it in a barn and it was some local racer's personal street bike. Thow a set of vintage looking race shocks on the rear just to make it look convincing. Oh and gold plating is your friend.
 

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oh and for future reference:

pouser shit:
- Knee dents without increasing the capacity of your tank
- clubman bars that create uncomfortable riding positons (if your knees touch your elbows)
- 16" rear wheels as part of the cafe look (you are kinda stuck with this as there are no good gs850 wheel options)
- the belief that a cafe bike is defined by its parts and not its use.

as someone who also has a higher than college education, I can understand how it is really easy to talk about this stuff in terms of educated principles like culture and what have you but knock it off, seriously. Real cafe culture from the 60's europe (rockers) are just a bunch of dirtbags that popular media made look cool, but in reality are like 1950's greasers here in the states - none are the Fonz but plenty were just petty theives, hoods, and general deliquents. "Cafe culture" now is just a bunch of hipster douchebags who bought into the Quadrophenia and Happy days image of coolness and all want the look of vintage bikes with none of the stripes that come with it. Bikes don;t have culture, people have culture and right now the culture part of this hobby is infected with people with more fashion sense than bike sense.

you won't a cafe bike? build the bike and don't worry about the culture - it is just a buch of scenesters jerking each other off anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Geeto,
The bike still has a long way to go in my mind, and Ive only had a couple days around it. You got any samples of the paint scheme you were talking about (or were you being sarcastic?). I want to teach myself how to do fiberglass, and paint and some basic metalwork, just so i can be well rounded. I'm not really blindly following anybody's lead, just trying to participate in the forum. I'll try my best to implement the good thats been said.
Says you're in NYC, whereabouts? Might I have seen your work rolling around somewhere?
-The newcomer.
 
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