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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone Dangerous Brian here.

What a great forum, I recently decided to design tune and build my own cafe racer, I have no clue as this is my first time however fortunately I have a full workshop with tools at my disposal (for practice) and a good friend willing to teach me how to tune and improve the engine and pay him less as I will do the work as opposed to paying him to do it we shall call him (Mr Nice Guy).

First things first I have no bike but will be looking at a Honda CB of any size to start so anyone in Germany with this or similar bike 70's 80's give me a shout Im all ears (dangerous brian joke)

I have yet to try the search function as I have not started but be assured I will be trying this before posting any Noobie crap, I may be new but I'm not green around the ears so no worries there.

All in all I have been scouring every bit of info tips and tricks I can find on the internet and keep coming back here to caferacer.net (which is awesome) to mainly prepare me for when buying a bike so I can already start building a budget in my head when viewing the bike and get a feel for what it will need.

Also as I am in Germany anyone needing tools or a place to work and wants to help me with my bike are welcome to come down and use the space.

End.
 

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I'm not in Germany, but welcome. It seems to me the easiest honda CB's to get into vintage racing with are the 350's and 175's. These small bikes are fun and somewhat cheap to get into, part of the fun is the fact that they aren't especially fast, but that induces skill and to some points makes these classes quite a bit safer for new racers. I myself would like to get into vintage racing once I find the right bike and have the money to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the welcome thechief86, much appreciated, I hadn't seriously considered racing the bike yet as wanted to get the basic knowledge underneath me first. Crashing a bike and fixing it yourself with little skill would make for less seat time which is a no go with summer coming, I ride in the wet, just no long distance rides around europe etc.
 

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I hear you, most people don't. If you don't have much skill or experience in the motorcycle hobby yet, i would suggest a newer bike for the sake of dependability, but if you have had some experience turning wrenches and diagnosing why you're on the side of the road, you'll have fun tinkering here and there with a cb. Just keep in mind that the original reason for getting a jap bike was low cost and decent quality. These bikes aren't cheap anymore, so you might do just as well chasing a european bike, or even a more modern bike of any breed as you might get better quality for the same or even less coin.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Fair play, I have been looking at a newer cb450s which has a prety nice frame kinda like the ducati and KTM's where they engine is suspended as opposed to sitting in the frame, what do you think??
Benefits in my mind woud be: Modern engine forks and brakes etc
Cons: not as beautiful as the older bikes, less character,

Plus I havent seen any Cb450s from the 80's being coverted to a cafe, have you? if so send me a pic. Thanks
 

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when you say cb450, do you mean the three valve "Hawk" derivative from the early 1980s? Like this:

honda+cb+450+street+2+tempos+acima+de+400+ate+700+1984+1985__2A74E8_1.jpg

if so they are great commuter bike and that is about it. They are shit for just about everything else.


since you are new to all of this you want to trod the well worn path. Don't just buy anything and assume you can "convert it" to something it was never meant to be.
 

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I like the CB450S frame. I think all the bike really needs for good handling is some good rear shocks. I think they have a bit of café racer potential if done right.

HONDACB450S-1354_1.jpg

Danger, ismy business."
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thats the bike, I think the frame is unique but not sure about the strength it looks flimsy. I'll check the HP aswell as I'm 6,2 and 85kgs dont want it to struggle going up hill on power. Thanks for the pic and appreciate the advice.

BTW I watched On any Sunday new chapter 2014, no where near the original the soundtrack was off as well apart from the end credits. But still worth a look.

- - - Updated - - -
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looking at it, I think the seat and the tank sit in a v rather than straight that could mean some serious fabrication to get that straight cafe line through the bike?? thoughts has anyone seen this with the seat off.

Also dont think I have seen this bike done yet in a cafe style, anyone?

- - - Updated - - -

That with 450 motor.
 

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Thats the bike, I think the frame is unique but not sure about the strength it looks flimsy. I'll check the HP aswell as I'm 6,2 and 85kgs dont want it to struggle going up hill on power. Thanks for the pic and appreciate the advice.

I keep telling you don't reinvent the wheel here. You don't see them for a very good reason - it's a shit platform for what you want to do.

Also stop thinking about this thing in terms of aesthetics, you want to find an old bike, improve that old bike, and let the mechanical improvements guide how it looks. If you try to "force" a look on an 80's piece of shit you'll only get a bike that bolt rides and looks like crap. Also at 6'2" that 450 is freaking tiny. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel. you aren't going to be the one who suddenly starts a revolution because you made a cb450 look like all the other trash on pipeburn, you've never done this before so I don't think you fully appreciate how difficult it is to build a good custom bike. Take baby steps.

You're in germany, I can't imagine an airhead beemer is hard to find? Like an R90S or R100S? Europe is lousy with british and italian bikes as well and most of the italian stuff from the 70's is pretty great component wise (most use ceriani or marzocchi forks and shocks, grimeca or brembo brakes, etc).

As this is your first time you want a bike with:
1) a racing history for the model
2) a good solid knowledge base
3) a thriving aftermarket
4) a Factory Parts support including published service materials.

Only some honda CB's qualify here: the 1969-1976 cb750F, the 1967-1974 CB450, the 1975-78 CB400F, the 1968-1974 cb350, the 1979-1982 CB750F/900F/1100F. There are plenty of honda CB models that don't fit that bill at all like the 1979 til whenever cb400/450 hawk and cb360s, and other useless junk. For a long time the 1972-74 cb350F four cylinder was so forgotten honda didn't even stock service parts for it, now it is coming back but not to the level of any of the other bikes mentioned.

I have to think if you have to buy something with no parts support and no aftermarket a Morini 500 is way more interesting to own than a cb450 hawk. Look for that shit instead.

Other bikes you should look for:

airhead beemers (the big ones not the little ones)
guzzi twins
1980's ducatis
xs650 yamahas
I'm sure others will add to the list.

And before you cry about all those other bikes being expensive because you can't buy them for 500 euros...well...it's because they are worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Chief, and fair point on the bike if its shit I dont want it, there a few BMW;'s knocking about so I will see whats about.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok Geeto67, Dare i say it however there seem to be a few xj650 for sale and in good working order near to me. Good basis for the cafe... be nice.
 

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Ok Geeto67, Dare i say it however there seem to be a few xj650 for sale and in good working order near to me. Good basis for the cafe... be nice.
First off, stop calling them "cafe". A cafe is where women and ponces go to drink herbal tea, eat pastry, write in journals, and generally while away the hours. Unless you are talking about "transit Cafes" which are literally what we americans call "truck stops". Remember the word Racer is in there and that is really where the focus is supposed to be. Cafes are checkerboard table cloths and baguettes, racer is speed and sport.

Now, we never really defined what the hell you think a racer should be. I mean if you think it is all 1960's bumstop seats, clip-on bars and rockers and all that garbage then you need to expand your horizons. Also you need to stop thinking you can make a 1980's japanese middleweight superbike look like a 1960's british bike. If you want something that looks like a brit bike, go buy a brit bike. Each era has their own interpretation of how to build speed out of a standard motorcycle and with that comes it's own unique look. If you are buying an early 1980's superbike it will always look like a 1980's superbike no matter how much garbage you tack on to it.

So now let's talk XJ650s. If you are talking about XJ650 maxims, forget that. Those are old UJM muscle cruisers and it's just a crap proposition all around. If you are talking about the XJ650 Seca, well then you have a sport oriented UJM middleweight superbike. Again, not really a great aftermarket, and probably a marginal knowledge base, but they do have a cult following which is good.

If you want to see what a good looking and well built Seca looks like this is John Wescott's:
11620d1421282499-ride-month-january-2015-sat1.jpg

11621d1421282502-ride-month-january-2015-sat2.jpg

11622d1421282505-ride-month-january-2015-sat3.jpg

11623d1421282508-ride-month-january-2015-sat4.jpg

My 1981 Seca XJ550 with FZ600 motor and swing arm. FZR front end with Blue Spot calipers and Pro Lite rotors. Suzy Kat rear wheel and caliper.
FJ600 carbs jetted for the old school Yosh header with comp baffle. Hoysong GT250 oil cooler. Lots more bits on there as well.

yeah I am not a big fan of the fairing either but it fits the era and the owner likes it, plus press materials from that time frame had the same fairing and paint scheme.

If you just want to build something terrible like this:
1xj650+cafe+racer.jpg
well you really need to re-think your approach to the hobby because this not even remotely well built.

Remember, there is no one specific part or group of parts that magically makes something a racer. If the bike looks like a collection of stereotype parts and can't back up it's look it's not a racer it's a pile of crap. Remember you want the thing to deliver a good riding experience, and to do that you need to start with a good riding bike to begin with. While the Seca is a Boring UJM commuter bike, it can be modded into something you can use to scare a brown streak into your underwear if you are willing to put in the work.
 

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now, why do I keep pushing airhead beemers? Well....up until the mid 1970's BMWs were stogy old tech high mileage tourers. Then BMW created this:




The R90S, and began to dominate superbike racing with it:
Goodwood12-01.jpg

It's still mostly an old world tech bike but Airhead beemer owners are a fanatical bunch and there is a huge aftermarket for the bike. There are places like Boxermetal and boxer cafe in the states:
BOXERMETAL.com
Welcome to

Flat Racer in england:
Home - FlatRacer.com - Classic Motorcycles & Cafe Racers parts and accessories

and Ritmo Sereno in Japan:
????????

not to mention that being in Germany there are a number of stock parts suppliers and you can get cool things like Police Transmissions with kick-starters for the later bikes and Denfield R100S solo seats.

While factory R90s bikes are now collectible and expensive, BMW made the R100S until the late 1980s and even the regular models like /7s and R100RS can be modded to racer spec. Case in point here is a flatracer customer who built something cool out of a 1980's monolever:
4550118573.jpg
 

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I'd ride a stock or modified R80 G/S, ST, RS, RT or R 800cc any day. A Far better and 'happier' motor than the 980cc one. The R80 monolever chassis works well enough for fast road use.

Danger, is my business,"
 

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While I like to think a bmw is just a guzzi with saggy tits,
I do thoroughly love them. I have seen them on the track and was impressed! I always figured I'd drag a hole in the valve covers, but it seems like that only happens if you crash. Not to mention you'll have a good bike to tour on if you decide clip ons and rearsets aren't all that comfy on the bike you ride most of the time. .. just remember, bmw stands for "brought my wrenches! "
Haha. Don't be afraid to learn how to work on it, it will make you a better person. ;)
 
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