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I'm new to the cafe racer scene; Just wondering if a 1982 Honda 750 Magna was a good bike to convert to a cafe racer?? I've look around the internet and have found very few 80's bikes converted to cafe racers none were 750's or Magna's. Give me some insight...
 

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quote:
I'm new to the cafe racer scene; Just wondering if a 1982 Honda 750 Magna was a good bike to convert to a cafe racer?? I've look around the internet and have found very few 80's bikes converted to cafe racers none were 750's or Magna's. Give me some insight...
With the righ amount of skills you can make anything a cafe racer. However, somebikes are easier than others. The Honda magna is not one of the easy bikes.

There are a lot of things working against the magna - primarily is the the rake and trail setup and those long forks. The frame is also a drop seat frame which would make it difficult to get that old cafer racer look. Also the bike is a shaft drive which traditionally doesn;t jive with the cafe vibe (although you can dare to be different).

The Pluses are that the magna as the V-4 750cc intercepter motor which is a really nice sounding motor and pulled the honda race bikes to victory in racing in the 80s. Go rent V Four Victory and you will fall in love with a honda V4.

You don't see a lot of cafe 80's bikes because by the 80s the factories started building thier own cafe racer versions (DOHC cb750F, GS1000S, Z1R, etc...) which eventually led them to build race replicas starting around 1983-1986 (GSXR, Ninja 1000R, VFR1000R, FZR1000). The original goal of a cafe bike was to build a race replica for the street, but if the factory was doing it then there really was no need. What is ironic is that the younger generations found factory race replics no too useful on the street and began to take crashed ones and simplify them into bikes they could use and abuse (Ie they took off al the shit they didn't need to stunt or race stoplight to stoplight)....thus the streetfighter was born. Although they have similar looks and people who like on tend to like the other as well, their origins are completely different. Now the factories have started to make their own streetfighters (Bandit, z1000, Speed Triple, fz1000) so the motorcycle world is ready for another shift

For 80's cafe bikes I would recomend:

1979-1982 Honda CB750/900/1100F
1980-1982 Kawasaki Kz1000 (stay away from LTD or CSR models)
1980-1983 Suzuki GS 750 and 1100

Or you can buy the first of the race replicas which have a very cafe racer feel (lots of them still have a quasi old bike heaviness feeling, espically the air/oil cooled gsxr):

1986 Kawasaki Ninja 1000R
1985 Suzuki GSXR 1000
1983 Honda VFR1000R interceptor
 

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quote:
I'm new to the cafe racer scene; Just wondering if a 1982 Honda 750 Magna was a good bike to convert to a cafe racer?? I've look around the internet and have found very few 80's bikes converted to cafe racers none were 750's or Magna's. Give me some insight...
With the righ amount of skills you can make anything a cafe racer. However, somebikes are easier than others. The Honda magna is not one of the easy bikes.

There are a lot of things working against the magna - primarily is the the rake and trail setup and those long forks. The frame is also a drop seat frame which would make it difficult to get that old cafer racer look. Also the bike is a shaft drive which traditionally doesn;t jive with the cafe vibe (although you can dare to be different).

The Pluses are that the magna as the V-4 750cc intercepter motor which is a really nice sounding motor and pulled the honda race bikes to victory in racing in the 80s. Go rent V Four Victory and you will fall in love with a honda V4.

You don't see a lot of cafe 80's bikes because by the 80s the factories started building thier own cafe racer versions (DOHC cb750F, GS1000S, Z1R, etc...) which eventually led them to build race replicas starting around 1983-1986 (GSXR, Ninja 1000R, VFR1000R, FZR1000). The original goal of a cafe bike was to build a race replica for the street, but if the factory was doing it then there really was no need. What is ironic is that the younger generations found factory race replics no too useful on the street and began to take crashed ones and simplify them into bikes they could use and abuse (Ie they took off al the shit they didn't need to stunt or race stoplight to stoplight)....thus the streetfighter was born. Although they have similar looks and people who like on tend to like the other as well, their origins are completely different. Now the factories have started to make their own streetfighters (Bandit, z1000, Speed Triple, fz1000) so the motorcycle world is ready for another shift

For 80's cafe bikes I would recomend:

1979-1982 Honda CB750/900/1100F
1980-1982 Kawasaki Kz1000 (stay away from LTD or CSR models)
1980-1983 Suzuki GS 750 and 1100

Or you can buy the first of the race replicas which have a very cafe racer feel (lots of them still have a quasi old bike heaviness feeling, espically the air/oil cooled gsxr):

1986 Kawasaki Ninja 1000R
1985 Suzuki GSXR 1000
1983 Honda VFR1000R interceptor
 

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Geeto67,

I couldn't have put it better. Thoughtful and well said. I came across this posting because I too had located a "cheap" Magna and was looking for some opinions on the subject.

Cheers.[8D]
 

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While I agree 100% that a Magna does not easily fit the traditional British Cafe Racer look, it does fit the US Hot Rod or Street Rod look really well.

Without going around the same loop of what is a cafe racer and where do function and form fit together, it's possible to see a Magna as fitting into the general context of retro rod which after all is what cafe racers today are. They are a style of bike that mimics the UK Rockers of the sixties in as much as they follow a general theme of looking like performance bikes from a past era.

What all that means in 2011 is up to each of us to ponder.

In that general sense of invoking the speed gods of a prior era sort of way, a Magna is good place to start if that's what you have and you are not slavishly following the CB350 trying to look and perform like a T120 or 6750SS.

It comes down to what do you want the bike to do and how do you want it to look. Like a retro street rod - easy. Like a Norvin/Triton/RGS etc, not so easy.
 

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Geeto hits it on the head -
The better pick out of his list would be the 1980-1983 Suzuki GS 750 or a cb1100f honda. Each of these bikes were tops when it came to handling and performance. I wouldn't have any problems junking up a GS but the CB1100f should be left stock (maybe add performance carbs and pipe but keep the stock parts).

The GS1100 was great on performance but was not know to handle well.

The KZ1000 is also not a bad choice with its engine is almost bullet proof no matter how hard you ride it.

Lastly you end-up with CB750 or 900. These are really the the most available bikes in the market place. They are cheap, plentiful and run and handle very well - but there are a ton of them around. Good for buying but hard to unload when you are ready to move on.

I think my choice would be in the following order: cb1100f, cb900f, GS750, KZ1000, cb750f - I left off the GS1000
 

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However,
with a little parts bin engineering, I think you could make a nice bike out of a Magna. Swap a 750 Interceptor front end on it and a V65 Sabre rear wheel on there with some work to the rear fender/tail light area blended into a Corbin gunfighter seat with a VF750 Sabre tank and you might have a nice bike. Try the CB700SC Nighthawk shocks, they are longer with better damping and springs. It isn't cafe, but I saw a magna with 4 upturned pipes exiting by the rear axle that looked pretty cool, too.

Ken
 
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