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Discussion Starter #1
anyone have any thoughts as to the best platform for building a retro styled custom? I'm running out of Honda's and I think it's for the best since the hipster element has kinda ruined their appeal. Was thinking 90's Ducatis, seem to have good performance, are fairly inexpensive and still desirable by the actual riding market. I want to stay away from water cooled just from a simplicity aspect, don't want to go too exotic since paying 10k for a bike I'm going to customize on speculation seems like a quick way to go broke.
 

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my 94 600ss certainly didn't need any handling mods, it was fucking fantastic. Could definitely have done with abit more ooomph.

Zephyr! :p
 

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I've often thought of trying something with a GSX/XJR 1300.
Baines Racing used to produce a kit to turn a Ducati 900 Super Light into this.....
 

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I think there are some good choices depending on what you want to end up with. I think that some of the aircooled Yamaha 600s might work, FZ600, FJ600, Seca II, Radian. The air/oil cooled Suzukis could be interested GSX/GSXR 600/750/1100. I have been looking at the Suzuki Marauder, too since it is a V twin with chain drive. The problem as I see it is that many of these bikes have a perimeter or spar frame that makes it difficult get the classic look although if you made an alloy Manx style tank you could probably pull it off.
 

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The Seca II / Diversion 600 could make a good neo - MV Agusta style bike if done right. The motor looks like something MV would have made, if they hadn't kept making cobbled - together 60's four - cylinder junk, and then going out of business.

Suzuki TU250Xs. Why someone is not selling a complete set of bodywork to make them look just like a Ducati 450 Desmo, is beyond my understanding. A café / race fairing and small mirrors would make them go at least ten MPH faster, for a start.

I think a serious café - style ST1100 Honda would make a very impressive café racer. Much like a CX 500 that goes fast, and goes around corners and stuff. The fact that it could haul a skinny chick around on the back in comfort and supreme smoothness at the ton only adds to the appeal, in my eyes.

1st gen SV650s. Why no one has done a good café one with a polished frame, beats me. The ally frame looks more Spondon - style than an ally Spondon one.

For something out of left field: A 400 Burgman or Yamaha T- max like RSD's custom:

RSD T-Max-15_Original.jpg

It needs a top tube and a dummy tank IMO. The style looks like prime hipster bait, to me.

Danger, is my business.
 

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GT hawk or something of a similar year/size/style

Really 80s superbikes could be fun too.
 

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the problem with all the above mentioned is most of them are "rare" bikes (except the diversion and the Tu250).

I think you are on the right track roc, the 1992-1998 Ducati Supersports are getting collectible and have been kind of done to death, but there is literally nothing for the 1999-2005 Supersports and those bikes are dirt cheap, common, and just fucking awful in the looks department. I never see any custom ones so you pretty much have to make your market with them though.

Another couple I have thought about is the honda 599/919 and the first gen kawasaki z1000. Both are slightly rarer but available and cheap as a modern standard can get. Again you are making your market with these bikes.

However, if you are looking for a commercially viable project - the answer is SV650. Huge following but not a lot of aftermarket parts esp retro body parts which the bike would need since 90% of them seem to be crashed anyway. Probably the best one to hit the ground running on since the market is already there.
 

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I never thought that the last gen SS ducatis were ugly.

They do seem cheap though
 

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It's the time to start hording 1st gen SV650 junk for future café racer efforts. Complete motors / frame / swingarms / tanks and legit titles. Much of the bodywork is a bit ugly and useless, like the wheels, brakes and forks. Plenty of other much more sexy used stuff fits SVs, and is cheap enough off of eBay. 1st gen SV motors are bulletproof, for road or track. Even high miles ones.

One reason the 1st gen ones crash, is the forks are pretty crap stock. Almost CX 500 quality.

The 2nd gen EFI SVs are a bit too ugly to make into a café - custom bike.

Forget building Ducati customs, parts prices for engine parts are well off the scale.

Once the legions of CX 500 fashion idiots ride a real bike, the CX 500 funky - love is all over in about half an hour. :)

Danger, is my business.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
my friend was telling me to go for the 4 valve engine, I found some older 2 valve 620 monsters sold on ebay for about $1500, from what I understand you could drop a 900 in with no adaptation, the later 4 valves look to be going for about 4-5k, just seems like starting with a Ducati opens your custom up to a much more serious market, namely people with money who actually love to ride, it's a bit sad IMO because old jap bikes are beautiful machines and are great to ride, just seems too many have been destroyed and then sold as "custom", kinda gave anyone working on jap customs a bad reputation by association.
 

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I think there are people out there that will value proper work regardless of make.
Sure it is easy to think that "ducati people" will spend more money or somehow be better people, but they have dipshits too.

Make what you like, make it well.
They will buy it
 

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By " serious market " I guess you mean idiots that are prepared to pay plenty for pretty crappy bikes. It works for Harley customs, after all.

Personally I could not sell guys old Ducati customs. Integrity issues. I think they were pretty crappy things to begin with, and would always be wondering when they would come back and complain about how the motor has turned to shit. I'd say it was junk the day they bolted it together at the factory.

Ducatis are much like the heroin market, one taste, and then the bank balance wanes away, and the riders still want more. I could think of better ways to be a kingpin.

Danger, is my business.

PS: J _ g : " Make what you like, make it well. They will buy it ". I agree entirely.
 

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Ducatis are much like the heroin market, one taste, and then the bank balance wanes away, and the riders still want more. I could think of better ways to be a kingpin.
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That you could place the words "heroin and "kingpin" in the same sentence speaks of your self grandeur in spades...any fool can outride the given capabilities of any chassis, a rider with common sense learns it's limits and stays within them.

I am in total agreement on the SV650. Beautifully mimic the Monster/SS (depending on faired or nekkid) in that baroque style the asian manufacturers do so well. A quick tour of the Racetech catalog would cure the "weaknesses" described by Mr. know it all (how the greats from the 10s-80s dealt with all of that poor chassis "crap", I'll never know)...It'll never SOUND italian, but won't stretch the budget like a desmo either.

Another piece, abundantly available and cheap? the GS500e. Other than that perimeter frame, is a fairly clean and simple canvas.
 

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The ' not sounding like a Ducati issue ' is solved with a Leo Vince exhaust. I know all about it.


N.B. : SOUND Italian.

Kerkers and Yoshimura ones sound pretty good as well. I know all about it.

" any fool can outride the given capabilities of any chassis, a rider with common sense learns it's limits and stays within them. " That assumes one has found their limits. Can't say I ever have. I can't say any fast rider possesses much " common sense ". That's usually the short fat guys who do all the work to run bike race meets.

Even with different springs and Gold Valves, the SV650 forks are pretty crap, the stock brakes run a close second. I know all about it. They certainly don't cure the stock fork issues. USD replacement is far cheaper, and cures any brake, rigidity or suspension issues in one fell swoop.

If SV650 frames " mimic " any frame design, it's a British custom Spondon one. An SV650 frame is truly superior any Ducati one under 916 / 1098 specs.

The problem with the GS500E is even though it's a pretty good cheap bike, the frame is as ugly as sin for a custom bike. I can't say I've seen a good looking one.

In two ( 2 ) sentences even?

Danger, is my business.
 

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my friend was telling me to go for the 4 valve engine, I found some older 2 valve 620 monsters sold on ebay for about $1500, from what I understand you could drop a 900 in with no adaptation, the later 4 valves look to be going for about 4-5k, just seems like starting with a Ducati opens your custom up to a much more serious market, namely people with money who actually love to ride, it's a bit sad IMO because old jap bikes are beautiful machines and are great to ride, just seems too many have been destroyed and then sold as "custom", kinda gave anyone working on jap customs a bad reputation by association.
Eh, I don't know if the duc 4 valve superbikes are the way to go. Most of the riders I know with them have little to no interest in anything old and will pretty much shit on anything that doesn't shave another 1/16th from their lap time. Even the monster S4R owners are a bit of MOAR POWR!!! always even though they bought ducati's version of a retro bike with a superbike engine. People willing to put up with an aircooled 2 valve "sport" bike seem to understand and get the retro thing. Case in point, when my 1199 riding buddy wanted to build a cafe racer he went out and bought a 1996 900SS and immediately cut the sub-frame to fit a fiberglass seat.

BMW, Guzzi, and non-monster Ducati owners just seem to be willing to spend money on their bikes. Monster owners are hit or miss since a lot of dirt poor Brooklyn hipsters buy those as well.

Are you looking to build custom bikes? or sell custom parts? or both? if it is parts, look for what's popular and go with that. If bikes, look for what people think is special to begin with but have the right attitude for a retro. If both find the nexus.

Honestly if you really are chasing the parts buiness, make something for new bikes. Customers who buy brand new bikes love to spend money on them. I think the BMW RnineT is in desperate need of aftermarket parts like seats and crap. As far as I know the only guzzi v7 accessories are ones you buy from guzzi.
 

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How is the RnineT in need of anything?
Didn't BM give EVERY SINGLE one of them to different shops to build??????????

one looked like a trout fucked a shopping cart
 

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Discussion Starter #17
no, more looking into building custom bikes and figuring out how to make a living on it, I'd want to work out a deal with a reseller or two to sell the parts I develop to make building the bikes a bit quicker and more efficient, i.e. rearsets, bars, maybe tach/speedos that are electronic and designed to bolt on with the least bit of work. I really got a kick out of seeing a Leggero in person and I saw a lot of things Walt did to make building them easier and faster, yet still look custom and be a damn fine motorcycle
 

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make rich friends with motorcycle habits. They will tell you what to build and with a few exceptions rich dudes tend to have a lot of similar tastes.
 

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...... I know all about it...... I know all about it......I know all about it.....
Put 10 guys in a room and ask them a question. Pretty much guarantee the guy that screams out this ^^^^ is the guy that knows the least about it.


Sean - what is your target market? Are you still looking at the hipster brigade? If so you already know they pretty much won't spend $$$.

How about something like a Bandit and making endurance racer reps out of them? Reasonably cheap buy-in and the performance is already there.
 

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Put 10 guys in a room and ask them a question. Pretty much guarantee the guy that screams out this ^^^^ is the guy that knows the least about it.


Sean - what is your target market? Are you still looking at the hipster brigade? If so you already know they pretty much won't spend $$$.

How about something like a Bandit and making endurance racer reps out of them? Reasonably cheap buy-in and the performance is already there.
Beating Mr. Know it all to the punch...

That bike sucks. The frame is as flexy as over cooked pasta, the fork wouldn't pierce a wilted, over dressed salad...no wait...day old cole slaw and the shocks are damped with ice cream...I know. I've scrapped them all off plates in the Big Boy restaurant I bus tables at. I know everything...

washing glasswear is my business
 
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