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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. I just joined the forum and thought I'd share this project.
First, a bit about who I am. My real name is Dino and I work as a European Auto Tech here in North Carolina. I've been wrenching on cars and bikes since 1975. I rebuilt my first motorcycle back then.. a Yamaha 80cc 2-stroke. I've owned several bikes over the years, two of which I really miss. A 1975 Yamaha RD350 that I turned into a cafe racer with fiberglass seat, tank, full race fairing, rear set controls and clubman bars. It ran about 95 in the quarter mile and I "did the ton" on that bike! Another fave was a 1976 Honda CB750F Super Sport. I put straight bars and a sport seat on that one and drove it as my only transpo for a few years in Phoenix AZ.

Fast forward to now. I just picked up a 1985 Honda VF700S Sabre for $500, not running. It had been stored and picked of a few parts at a bike shop but it only has 2700 miles on it!! I decided to turn in into a cafe racer because I've not seen a V45 cafe yet.

I have a website where I post weekly DIY projects called hackaweek.com. Last week I posted the first video of this project.
Hope you enjoy following along and I look forward to joining the community here and getting back on a bike for the first time in 30 years!!!

 

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Hey there, i really enjoyed your video. Keep it up. If it was me, i would tackle the engine first (see why it does not run) before moving on to anything else...unless of course you have an idea why this is the case. You need a healthy engine first. Everything else comes second. Also it makes me wonder, why would a bike shop sell a bike as a non runner since they could make a lot more money by selling a functional one.
 

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Also it makes me wonder, why would a bike shop sell a bike as a non runner since they could make a lot more money by selling a functional one.
because those sabers are next to worthless in the US, even as running bikes and it would have cost the bike shop more than they would see in profit had they invested the time/energy to fix it. This happens all the time with bikes shops - people buy "projects" not realizing what's involved, take it to the bike shop, and then abandon it when they get the estimate that is 2-3 times what the bike is worth.


mr. sabre,

while not as terrible as the magna in terms of going around a corner, a race bike it ain't. What I am saying is - the sabre is an excellent GT bike perfectly situated in hondas line up between the sporty interceptor and the drag chopper magna. Honestly if you wanted to make a "racer" out of it I would suggest you just go by a same year interceptor since honda poured buckets of money into that platform in the quest for speed. I def think it has "potential" as long as you aren't trying to dress it up like some 1950's fake brit bike. Embrace it's superbike era roots - maybe build the endurance racer that should have been out of it. just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not really looking to race it or go super fast through the twisties... just want to build something different. :) I have the parts I need to fire it up this weekend and see how it runs. After that, the build continues.
 

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I hope by different you don't mean adding a cafe racer kit it to it. I am on slow net so I checked only bits of the video. Geeto is right though you should embrace what the bike is not try to do something it isn't especially if its a "cafe RACER" that isn't an inch closer to racer. You do realize adding low bars and vintage looking tank to bike that otherwise doesn't play the part is somewhat equal to vinyl print wood panels on car doors or 4" exhaust tip and big wing on a stock civic. Just think about it. Make it a better motorcycle instead. More fun learning curve and far less douchy.
 

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Holy crap, i actually agree with Geeto on this one. I can understand building something different, but on the other hand there is a good reason why there are no cafe racers of this model out there. Making a better bike out of it may be the better choice
 

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Geets....are you ill? :)
 

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Fork brace, emulators, fresh springs up front and a new(er) more up to date rear shock swap. Raise the ass a couple inches and add a steering damper.
Good tires. 4-4 pipes with pitbike mufflers....it'll sound like a Ferrari fucking a smallblock...RADNESS!
Dustbin fairing and minimal bum-stop.
Tuck away and or remove what's ugly and useless.
Paint it some wild color and go rock out with your cock out.
(I gotta quit drinking for lunch!)
It'd be a cool all around ride with unique styling, hefty enough to make the bin no 'big deal and bin-jobs are cool.


edit(s)....effing typos
 

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I miss my V65 Sabre (The 1100, the wee 750 is the V45) at times, then I remember how heavy it was, how much of a PITA getting parts for it was... loved the motor but the rest of the bike was pure meh.
 

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I remember trying to stop my V65 Sabre.....whoooooa nellie!!! LOVED the motor, though.
 

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It would have cost the shop more in labor to pull the carbs and clean them than the bike was worth. Have fun with the carbs.

Ken

P.S. Geeto, here is a piece of trivia for you. Erik Buell raced a 750 Sabre at IRP in 1982 at a WERA race. I was there. That was before Erik was famous, just another racer that worked at HD and had some ideas. BTW, it didn't work well as a racebike for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I won't be racing this bike... lol I'll just be motoring around on it and enjoying getting a few bugs in my teeth. My girlfriend has a 250 Yamaha Virago so I really wanted to get back on a bike so we can ride together. This one just showed up on Craigslist so I grabbed it up. The shop was clearing out some bikes they had around that were taking up space in their busy shop.

I checked out the carbs yesterday. They're in a state of neglect and need to be pulled and serviced. I had the airbox off so I gave each one a little squirt of gas and tried to fire it off. It ran for a few seconds as it burned off that fuel and sounded like it was hitting on all four so I know things mechanical are OK. Like I stated, it has only 2700 miles on the clock so it's worth having some fun with.

I got my Woodcraft clip-ons delivered Friday and installed them yesterday. They look great! Now it's time to hack off the old bar mount bosses and clean up the triple tree a bit. Today I'll be doing that and finishing up the fuel tank foam "plug" so I can get it all shaped and ready for fiberglass. I'll be posting another video later today... cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I uploaded part two this evening...

I'm not that satisfied with the EPS foam for the tank build. It really should be a solid piece. If I can't source out a nice sized chunk of it I'll just go with the floral foam technique that most folks use to fab up a cafe seat.
As you'll see in the video, the carbs need some work...

 

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You might have some luck getting the type of foam your looking for that's used to build homebuilt aircraft. Google homebuilt aircraft suppliers. I know they will have block foam that is used to shape fiberglass plugs. I'm enjoying the video's - keep them coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We'll see as the build progresses... . I think the seat will help with this as it will raise "me arse" up quite a bit.:) Right now just sitting on the frame puts me low and forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So today I picked up a 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet of blue extruded polystyrene foam, cut it into pieces and glued them all together with white glue. The plan is to then shape this into a gas tank, coat it with a layer of epoxy paint to seal it, then laminate it up with some fiberglass and ployester resin. Why the epoxy coat first? Because polyester resin eats polystyrene foam instantly! I'm using the blue foam because it's dense and can be shaped with a smoother finish than the white expanded polystyrene foam I was using. This whole process will be in the part three video of the build.

Here's a pic of the laminates. 14 of them are for the tank and the top two are reserved as a base for the seat build when the time comes.
laminated blue foam for gas tank 002.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Doing some work in the shop this evening. I've decided to try designing a fuel tank based on the Ducati 900S cafe racer. I took a shot of myself on the bike with a scale of inches drawn on a piece of foam board, then loaded it up in Adobe Illustrator and came up with this...

sabre cafe gas tank rendering.jpg

Since my VF700S frame is similar in angles to the 900S, (only in angles by the way :rolleyes:) I think this design suits the frame nicely. I plan on making it get a bit wider towards the top to allow accommodate more fuel but leave it narrow around the knee area. I purposely left it close to my belly so that I can shape it to a comfortable curve in that area.

I printed this out to scale, stuck it to some foam board and mounted it to the bike to get a feel for what it will look like.

rider on bike shots for tank build 009.jpg

It doesn't hit my belly as is. :)

rider on bike shots for tank build 008.jpg
 

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So today I picked up a 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet of blue extruded polystyrene foam, cut it into pieces and glued them all together with white glue. The plan is to then shape this into a gas tank, coat it with a layer of epoxy paint to seal it, then laminate it up with some fiberglass and ployester resin. Why the epoxy coat first? Because polyester resin eats polystyrene foam instantly! I'm using the blue foam because it's dense and can be shaped with a smoother finish than the white expanded polystyrene foam I was using. This whole process will be in the part three video of the build.

Here's a pic of the laminates. 14 of them are for the tank and the top two are reserved as a base for the seat build when the time comes.
View attachment 1497
Nice! The most important detail of this process is having the proper guitar amp holding the foam in place. Well done sir!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Bass amp but close enough! :)

So this evening I got away from the tank stuff and got to work on making it RUN! I pulled the carbs... fun! I left them attached to the airbox (which by the way is staying intact on this bike), loosened the clamps at the heads, drained the coolant, pulled the thermostat and hose out of my way as well as wiring then pried upwards on the rear carbs first. Once they popped loose I pried up the front ones, detached the choke cable then slid the whole assembly out the left side. Once out where I could more easily reach them I detached the throttle cables and the whole thing was free of the bike.

carburetors VF700S 003.jpg

I pulled the float bowls and found this mess...
carburetors VF700S 004.jpg

Yogurt anyone?
carburetors VF700S 005.jpg

The first thing to do with this slime moldy crap is rinse it with hot water. Then I'll take the jets out and start cleaning. I'm NOT going to completely disassemble the whole unit if I can help it, Right now the carb linkages are mechanically synchronized well enough. I haven't pulled the tops yet to look at the diaphragms. I hope they're OK but we'll see.

Time for a beer... :)
 
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