Cafe Racer Forum banner

1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all. After stumbling all over the internet reading on my newfound motorsport, this is where I landed.

I come from a long, long, long history of wrenching. Mostly built 4x4s that I'd destroy in one day and rebuild the following six. Left that life and traded four wheels for two. No idea why I've waited so long to start riding.

About three months ago I made my first bike purchase; 86 Honda XL250R. Love the dual sport capabilities. I've taken that 250 all through New England and even into Canada. After bringing home pics and movies of my day trips, my wife wants to get into riding. We've started shopping around for a Rebel and Virago 250 for her (she is 100% stuck on a cruiser). In the meantime, I've decided that I should look for something that has a bit more oomph and a bit more street friendly. The 250 I've been riding now is fine, but it tops out at 70 and forget passing anything above 40mph; just doesn't have the balls to do it. I've checked out cruisers, but I cannot stand riding around like a chick at gyno visit. So this past week or so I've been checking out old school bikes to tinker with over the winter.

Currently my issue has been finding a bike that fits me. With the boots I wear while riding (Chippewas), I'm 6'5". My legs are in the range of 37" inseam with size 16 feet dangling from them. I'm a tall, lanky, hairy, not necessarily fat (solid 220#) bastard.

That being said, here is a bike I'm checking out this weekend:


Its 2.5h away. Asking $500. Wife and I are going to make a day trip out of getting there in my truck stopping at a few places on the way. At first I was full on wanting it, but now I'm starting to recant my thoughts. How terrible is it going to be for me to fit on that thing? I'm not new to using a welder or grinder, so I feel fine fabbing something to fit me. But realistically, is a 500 too small? I'm not looking to do 150mph anytime soon, but having the power there wouldn't be a bad thing.

There are a handful of other bikes I've found too:








Would I be better off with something like that? I don't mind cleaning carbs or that stuff. As cheap as it sounds, I don't want to spend much more than $500. I'll take this winter to throw some money at it and make something of it for next year.

tl;dr

How bad is a 6'5" guy going to fit on a 78 CX500? Should I pass on anything below 750?

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to poking around here for a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,303 Posts
none of those bikes are any good because most are trashed and need stuff. But you are on the right track - a big honking superbike from the early 1980s are good for big guys.

I'm 6'5" with a 34 inch inseam. Here are the bikes I tend to find the most comfortable and gravitate towards:
- 1977-1979 GS750
- 1978-1983 GS1000, GS1100, GS1150
- 1973-1985 KZ900-1000 and GPZ models
- 1979-1982 CB750F/900F/1100F (not the C model like in your last ad posted)
- XS1100 standard model (not the special, not sure of the year)
- Airhead BMW
- Flying Brick BMW


Stay away from the cx500 plastic maggot. It's too small and the bike is generally garbage anyway. That one you posted? extra garbage. You are going to get there and see it and think "WTF is this shit".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,303 Posts
yes, cancel on the cx500.

Why are you looking at sub $1000 bikes?

Here are the basics:
1) don't ever buy anything without a title (unless you have vast experience with getting titles in your state and are possibly a lawyer).
2) The cheaper a bike is, the more money you need to spend to get it up to par. A free bike is the most expensive bike known to man. Every single goddamn one of thise shit heaps you have posted needs between $1000-$1200 in parts alone and that is from looking at tiny pictures that make my eyes hurt. That's pure parts cost, not labor cost.
3) Hiding your location is stupid. People can't help you if they don't know where you live. Nobody from this forum is going to steal your shit or come to your house and shoot you for things you say here.
4) you buy all the PO's parts at a 75% discount and all the labor is free. The secret to a good deal is that he spent a lot on parts and has good quality labor.

With that said - buy a running, riding, titled, recently ridden motorcycle and pay more than $500 bucks for it. Budget $2K, most japanese superbikes in good nick should come in around $1500-1800 depending on model, some may be $2500 at most (except 1973-75 Z1's - their prices are crazytown). If you don't have more than $500 then forget this whole thing and focus on saving up about $3K and then revisit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
yes, cancel on the cx500.

Why are you looking at sub $1000 bikes?
Just paid oil, 1/2 a cow, property taxes next month, and picked up some land. I'm in the process of selling off a bunch of 4x4 parts. <$1000 is what I have to play with right now.

Here are the basics:
1) don't ever buy anything without a title (unless you have vast experience with getting titles in your state and are possibly a lawyer).
I live in NH. No title needed.

2) The cheaper a bike is, the more money you need to spend to get it up to par. A free bike is the most expensive bike known to man. Every single goddamn one of thise shit heaps you have posted needs between $1000-$1200 in parts alone and that is from looking at tiny pictures that make my eyes hurt. That's pure parts cost, not labor cost.
Something I totally 100% understand. I'm more looking for a winter project to dub around with right now. My experience with bikes is pretty much nothing. I can install/adjust drive chain, tighten/loosen valve clearances, and basic stuff like that. This is more going to be a learning process for me. If it costs me $1000 more to do it myself, fine. I'll learn a bunch of things on the way, and in the end have a bike that I fixed up.

3) Hiding your location is stupid. People can't help you if they don't know where you live. Nobody from this forum is going to steal your shit or come to your house and shoot you for things you say here.
I've had issues before with people knowing my location. I wasn't on the friendliest of forums. People find out where I work and thought it would be funny to post pictures of my house via Google and prank call my work. Forgive me for being a bit....protective. Just putting too much information out there has really bitten me before.


4) you buy all the PO's parts at a 75% discount and all the labor is free. The secret to a good deal is that he spent a lot on parts and has good quality labor.
Holy hell, this is exactly what I'm going through right now. I've parted out a really nicely running 4x4 (I got more money for it) recently. I got about ten cents to the dollar. And forget the three years of fabricating.

All in all, I don't mind spending some extra money to fix it up. Its a winter project. The amount I have been spending in 4x4s does not and remotely compare to what I have spent on bikes. I was dropping thousands after thousands into my rig on a continuous basis. I really just miss having something in the garage to tinker with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,077 Posts
Just paid oil, 1/2 a cow, property taxes next month, and picked up some land. I'm in the process of selling off a bunch of 4x4 parts. <$1000 is what I have to play with right now.
Well I've never purchased oil......bought a 1/2 of pig before and I live in San Diego......property taxes are coo coo and.....also property taxes for land I own but the advice is solid.

I would save a little more for a better ride. I've already learned many times the hard way that buying on the cheap is exactly the opposite. Of all the bikes you listed...none of them are rare or special. The cleanest looking one has a toolbox open in the ad....never a good sign.

Consider this......

The Honda 750 for sale...seems like a good low price of $700.... Maybe negotiate a little down even better. But then Geeto is correct about the $$ your going to put in it. Your around 2K and all that time into it. The aluminum is corroded, the finish a ugly, wheels, etc. you could probably purchase a good example of that machine for $2500 to $3000 in near pristine condition....one that was low ownership, miles and probably garaged its entire life...saving the original finish. To get that looking original and pristine will put you back at least 4K.......if you could paint it yourself.

I'm 6ft but 260 and all these little bikes with the exception of the CX will get up and boogie. Have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,014 Posts
What ever you think your budget is, triple it and add 10% for incidentals and you'll be closer to reality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,107 Posts
Can't imagine you would be happy on a CX500. I use one occasionally for beer runs and find I'm always ringing it's neck and searching for another higher gear… and I weigh about 100lbs less than you.

I don't hate them as much as some. They did serve their purpose and would go forever if cared for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Hm. Welp, I'll have to wait a bit then I guess. I bought my bike now for $1100. Put about 4,000 miles on it so far. Not sure if I was lucky, but I was under the impression if I bought a cheap bike that needed $1000 I'd gain knowledge on the bike along with getting it in running order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,303 Posts
Just paid oil, 1/2 a cow, property taxes next month, and picked up some land. I'm in the process of selling off a bunch of 4x4 parts. <$1000 is what I have to play with right now.
Understood. I was broke for a long time and still am and had to make do with cheap bikes. Still, buy the best bike you can afford still applies. The problem with motorcycles is that their ROI is terrible - way worse than any car you can think of.



I live in NH. No title needed.
NH and VT tend to play by their own rules. Still if buying without a title make sure you have the police run the vin before any money changes hands. getting stuck with a stolen bike sucks donkey dick and keep in mind titless 70's motorcycles could have been stolen in the 70's or 80's and are just surfacing now.


something I totally 100% understand. I'm more looking for a winter project to dub around with right now. My experience with bikes is pretty much nothing. I can install/adjust drive chain, tighten/loosen valve clearances, and basic stuff like that. This is more going to be a learning process for me. If it costs me $1000 more to do it myself, fine. I'll learn a bunch of things on the way, and in the end have a bike that I fixed up.
Japanese inline fours are kinda complex. At least compared to anything American or European from the same time period. Often a 1970's superbike can be as complex as an early 1990's Japanese commuter car. The 8V GS750 while an excellent bike uses bucket and shim valve adjustment vs something like a SOHC cb750 which uses a nut and wrench style adjuster like a small block chevy.


I've had issues before with people knowing my location. I wasn't on the friendliest of forums. People find out where I work and thought it would be funny to post pictures of my house via Google and prank call my work. Forgive me for being a bit....protective. Just putting too much information out there has really bitten me before.
Just the state will do. a lot of posts like this will often end with other members searching CL for you and posting what they think is better.


Holy hell, this is exactly what I'm going through right now. I've parted out a really nicely running 4x4 (I got more money for it) recently. I got about ten cents to the dollar. And forget the three years of fabricating.
Custom costs and the buyer pool shrinks. The old motorcycle market is kinda dumb right now - there are a lot of clean looking death traps out there because of the cafe racer craze (just like the chopper craze before it) but as long as it is painted and shiny someone will pay more than it is worth. Symptoms of the hobby growing faster than its intelligence base. Picking a model that has a niche following cuts down on this loss some because then you have people who appreciate good mods and will pay for it on their favorite bike. A good example of how fickle it is are the GS750s: the 1977-1979 bikes have a niche following and retain some value, the 1980-1983 bikes which are technically superior in that they are easier to maintain are almost worthless and nobody would appreciate a tastefully modded one.


All in all, I don't mind spending some extra money to fix it up. Its a winter project. The amount I have been spending in 4x4s does not and remotely compare to what I have spent on bikes. I was dropping thousands after thousands into my rig on a continuous basis. I really just miss having something in the garage to tinker with.
With motorcycles there is what I like to call "fun spending" and "not fun spending". Fun spending? a good example would be rebuilding your forks: heavy labor, but really if your tubes are not rusted and pitted you can service them for about $50-75 (fork seals, oil, and those damper pieces trailsrider is always going on about). But you have to take the entire front end off the bike, clean everything (which means you can polish stuff too while you are there), and put it back together. It teaches basic motorcycle stuff like how to check wheel alignment, how your forks work, etc...so it is fun and cheap.

Not fun spending? Tires. if you bought an old spoke wheel bike you will need to splash out about $300-$400 for good quality tires, tubes, rim strips, weights, etc. This is assuming you have the tools to mount and balance wheels which if you don't will tack on another $100 for a shop to do it once you have taken the wheels off the bike. It's short, teaches you almost nothing you couldn't have learned from a car, and rapes your wallet and leaves it for dead on the side of the road. furthermore you don't get to enjoy them if your bike isn't running. Maybe you can clean up your wheels and learn to true spokes at the same time but that's not as fun as it sounds either.

I tell everybody who want's to get into bikes - learn to ride first. then learn to fix. I am assuming you know how to ride but if you don't your money is better spent on an MSF course and a license than a bike. if the bike is to be a winter project - budget a year for any of the ones you have been looking at so far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,569 Posts
You've aready gotten a lot of good advice, but I'll just address one piece that was given, and expand on another point that hasn't had any detail give as to why..

1. Inline 4's can be somewhat complicated, however, the 8 valve Suzuki (and I believe the 8V Kawi) engines have a shim OVER bucket valve arrangement. While this isn't as easy to maintain as the Honda screw type tappet arrangement, it is much easier than a modern four cylinder with a shim UNDER bucket arrangement that requires removing the cams to adjust the clearance.

2. Forget that CX. Many hate the CX, in general, because it has tractor like engine output (without any of the torque), and the frame is not very good for a performance bike, but in stock form they are a decent around town putter.....however...THAT CX has been hashed up! Frame hacked off, rigid rear suspension, air box deleted (you don't know how much effort went into tuning the air/fuel mixture....and by the looks of the rest of the bike, I'd guess not much), a knobby front tire..(Really?), no front fender means that the already spindly front forks aren't tied together so the front wheel will go wherever it wants to....not necessarily where you want t to, that seat..oh dear that seat, the rear tail light looks like an after thought, as is the wiring to it, and I don't know what to make of the exhaust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Cool beans. Thanks everyone for the help. I also appreciate the attitude here. I hate the whole, lovey dovey, aww you'll be ok bullshit I get across a lot of other forums. Just lay it out for me.

As far as my riding experience, I'm no Agostini. I've only been riding for a few months now. Passed my test and all. I understand countersteering. Treat every car driver out there like they want to kill me. Crossed over in Canada. One thing I haven't done is any freeway driving. I only have a 250 so I stick to back roads.

I did call on that GS1000. Guy seemed...odd. I think he had me on speaker phone and he was in a shipping crate or something. I could barely understand what he was saying to me. Said the engine turns over, but there hasn't been any fuel in it for five years. Told me that if he got it running he would be selling it for more. I asked if I could take a ride out there this weekend. Told me he's fed up with CL people calling and not showing. Told me to show up, if he's there fine, if not too bad. So that call kind of gave me a few bad vibes.

I guess right now what I should be doing is finding a bike that has an engine in running order (things like a carb needing cleaning I'm fine with), but perhaps could use fork seals or as Geeto so eloquently put it, "fun spending" stuff.

But thanks for the heads up on that CX. I'm going to feel like a douche, but I'll just tell him that I got to sit on one recently and I am just way too tall for it.

It looks like the GS series will be the way to go though. Flip through some ads over the next couple months. Liquidate some more 4x4 parts, pocket some cash, and find a running one in the $1200 range. From there tune it/fab it to where I want over the wintertime.

to add:
Something like this

http://nh.craigslist.org/mcy/5201942628.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,303 Posts
here is another tip:

If you want a vintage performance bike avoid the factory choppers. The ad you posed above is for a suzuki L model which is a factory chopper. Why? because of 16" rear wheels, short shocks, and leading axle forks. Often the frames have more rake too. Often the standard models of the same bike are available for the same money and you don't have to spend a fortune replacing all the suspension bits just to get a chopper back up to par.

For Honda it is the C or custom model
For Kawasaki it is the LTD models
For suzuki it is the L or Limited models
For yamaha it is the "special" or Midnight special.

here is a good example:

1982 CB750F
830558l_20.jpg


1982 CB750C

honda_cb_750_c_1982_2.jpg

They look similar, and even use the exact same engine but notice the suspension, brakes, wheels are different. just that difference alone means any C based project will be almost twice as expensive as an F based project for no more added value. Considering the F models have a loyal following the resale will be affected as well. What you can't see are the slight frame differences that make some aftermarket parts like the factory sport kit unable to work with the C further limiting options (as the C model has the lesser aftermarket support).

it's just a lot easier to end up with this:

14321d1431439092-80-cb750f-ss-8238879988_6c75158d19_b.jpg


or this:



if you start with this:
1981-Honda-CB750F-Silver-4938-3.jpg

to that end it may be more recommended you pick a few bikes you like and try to hunt the best deal you can find for that type instead of the shotgun approach to bike hunting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,087 Posts
Just paid oil, 1/2 a cow, property taxes next month, and picked up some land. I'm in the process of selling off a bunch of 4x4 parts. <$1000 is what I have to play with right now.
Then enjoy your 250 until you can afford more. Trust us when we tell you that cheap will cost you more.
"needs carb bowls drained and tank flushed" = hasn't run in ages (who knows why), needs carbs properly cleaned (not drained or flushed) tank washed (not that easy) and potentially sealed, petcocks rebuilt. Most likely needs tires. 50% chance needs brakes flushed and rebuilt.

It really really is much more sensible enjoy the 250 instead of suffering with a POS while spending money $40 a time on ebay while months go by.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Man, that is a huge help. I see what you mean now. The F model no doubt is far more what I'm looking to ride. I'll start digging for one of those. Curious how I would fit on one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Then enjoy your 250 until you can afford more. Trust us when we tell you that cheap will cost you more.
"needs carb bowls drained and tank flushed" = hasn't run in ages (who knows why), needs carbs properly cleaned (not drained or flushed) tank washed (not that easy) and potentially sealed, petcocks rebuilt. Most likely needs tires. 50% chance needs brakes flushed and rebuilt.

It really really is much more sensible enjoy the 250 instead of suffering with a POS while spending money $40 a time on ebay while months go by.
I hear yea. I just have an itch is all. haha

I am having fun on the 250. Just these past two weeks I have been scouring CL for a bigger bike.

I guess in the reading I have done on some builds, I got all excited reading about some guy found a bike in a dumpster and transformed it into some beautiful thinking I could do the same.
 
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top