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Hi all -

I have asked, and seen others ask a lot of the same questions over and over again. In order to save Geeto and other old people from bursting blood vessels, I propose a frequently asked questions (FAQ) topic.

If this board's software can't "pin" a thread, I would suggest a separate forum that only board admins can post to, and that you could refer n00bs to upon the aforementioned n00b questions. Let me know what you think! Please feel free to make corrections and additions, or call me an asshole. You pricks.

Something like this:

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The CafeRacer.net FAQ
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Greetings! Like many others, you've come to CafeRacer.net because it's the best damn vintage cafe site on the net. Yes, that's right. Accept no substitutes.

There are a number of questions that are very commonly asked by every new guy through the door, and it makes the resident "experts" pissed off to re-answer them for everyone, every time. Plus, if you ask one of those questions , you can be sure of ridicule and embarrassment. That "Search" button sure is hard to find!

Without further ado, here is a list of commonly asked questions, and answers:

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** Q - What's the best kind of bike to buy?

** A - One that runs, has a title, everything works, and doesn't cost too much. No, seriously. These things are your primary concern. Even "free" bikes don't end up being free in the long run.

The next consideration is the make/model. It would take a lot of work to turn a GoldWing into a cafe racer, but with enough money, you can do anything. How fast do you want to spend?

Vintage bikes like the Honda CB/CL series, and the Yamaha XS series are common, easy to find parts for, and can be picked up pretty cheaply, even in running condition. This is *NOT* a limiting list, there are hundreds of bikes that make good cafe bikes, but these bikes are a great starting point.

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** Q - What sort of things do I need to get started on a project bike?

** A - You're going to need, at minimum, the following:

* A complete set of sockets and wrenches that will fit your bike
* A factory manual/Clymer's guide for your bike (factory manual preferred!)
* Money. Lots of it. If you've got a beater that doesn't run, expect to sink several hundred into it just to get it roadworthy. You're not going to do this for $50 bucks. But hey, it's lots cheaper than custom cars!
* Carburetor cleaner. Lots of it.
* Wire and plastic bristle brushes. Old toothbrushes work great! Just don't re-use them on your teeth later.
* A bucket for fluid/oil changes
* Enough engine oil for two full oil changes.
* Brake fluid (if you have hydraulic brakes)
* A bench grinder/wire brush (old bikes have lots of rust...)
* A safe, well-ventilated place to work with good lighting! Living rooms not recommended for the married among you.
* The ability to type your bike model and year into a search engine like google, and to read the results. You'll do a *lot* of this. Online microfiches are also extremely useful.
* Research. Are parts for your bike easily available? Are they affordable? Do other bikes use the same parts?

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** Q - I just bought a bike for $XXX, is that a good deal?

** A - That's hard to say, and the wrong time to ask the question. A general ruleset *PRIOR* to any bike purchase is as follows:

* Does the bike run?

* If the bike does not run, does it "turn over" (are you able to spin the crank, via starter button or kickstarter?)

* Is the bike generally complete? What parts are missing?

* Does the bike have a title?

* If the bike does not have a title, have you checked the VIN to make *very* sure the bike isn't stolen? Police departments and your local state reps may do this for you.

* What kind of shape does the bike appear to be in? I.e.:
** Do the forks leak fluid?
** Are the rear shocks working?
** Do the brakes work?
** Does the bike appear to shift gears?
** Are the tires in good shape? (not dry-rotted, bald, flat, etc)
** Is the tank rusting inside? (very important!)
** Is the exhaust rusted through? (very common on barn bikes)
** Does the bike have good cylinder compression (buy a compression gauge *before* you buy a bike!)
** Does the wiring appear to be sound/complete?
** Do the lights and controls (turn signals, horn, etc) work?
** Does the bike have the ignition key?
** Do the speedometer and tachometer work?
** Do the wheels/forks/levers exhibit excess play? Are the bearings in good shape?

And, most importantly, do you know what all these things are?

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** Q - Ok, the bike I bought/am buying/want to buy is in bad shape. Should I still buy it?

** A - That totally depends on you. It's pretty easy to find running bikes for less than $500 dollars. If you're being asked for more than $100 dollars for a non-running bike, consider the following:
* It's a rare bike you intend to restore completely that will be worth thousands when complete
* It's a rare bike with lots of valuable parts that would cost you hundreds of dollars separately
* It comes with a *lot* of spare parts in good condition
* You have already done a project like this before (unlikely)
* You have a lot of money to set fire to

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** Q - Ok, the bike I bought/am buying/want to buy is in good shape. Now what?

** A - Well, this is pretty much up to you. Do you know what you want to do with the bike? If you're here at CafeRacer.net, the odds are good you're looking at making a cafe racer out of the bike. If you're not picky, a very simple start to any project bike might be:
* Exhaust system
* Different/lower handlebars (clipons, clubmans, drag bars, etc)
* Tires
* Different air filters

More complex projects might include things like:
* New bodywork (tank, fenders, seats)
* New electrical system/lighting (turn signals, headlight, hidden wiring, etc)

Even more complex projects might include things like:
* New footpegs/rearsets
* Frame modifications (rearset mounting, custom gas tank mounts)
* Engine modifications

Remember, the most important concern when you start any project is the engine - concentrate your efforts here, FIRST. A pretty bike that doesn't run is a useless lump of metal.

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** Q - How do I get a title for my bike?

** A - The best way is to get one when you buy the bike. If your bike didn't come with a title, you *DID* run the VIN through a stolen vehicle search first, didn't you? It would suck to lose your bike after you bought it...

Assuming your bike is clean, there are a number of ways to title a bike, which vary by state. Some states allow you to simply show proof of purchase (bill of sale). Others have more strict requirements. There are services available online that will re-title your bike by "buying" the bike from you for a fee (usually $75 - $150 dollars), and then "selling" the bike back to you. The bike never changes hands, just the VIN and a bill of sale.

You can also get salvage titles if you're building a bike out of parts, but the laws for these vary widely by state. Check with your state's department of transportation for more info.

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** Q - What kind of tires should I get?

** A - Good ones. Good tires aren't cheap, but they're worth every penny. Start by looking at Avon and Bridgestone, but there are lots of great tires out there. If your bike's tires are several years old, replace them before you ever ride the bike. Bad tires can get you killed.

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** Q - What parts should I replace?

** A - It all depends on the condition of your bike, but there are some common things that you need to check, *FIRST*, before you put your bike on the road:

* Tires
* Chain
* Brake Master cylinder and caliper piston seals (for bikes with hydraulic brakes)
* Engine and carburetor gaskets and seals (Carburetor rebuild kits are highly recommended!)
* Front and rear sprockets
* Fork seals and fork oil
* Wheel bearing seals
* Throttle, brake and clutch cables (inspect these carefully for frayed cables!)
* Wheel, fork and suspension bearings and bushings
* Hoses/brake lines
* Lightbulbs
* Speedometer/tachometer cables
* Battery

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** Q - Clubmans or clipons?

** A - Whatever you like, just don't ask Geeto.

In all seriousness, clubmans are cheaper, and probably easier to install. However, clubman bars will hit the gas tank on many bikes, causing dents and pinched fingers. Research to see if they fit your bike first. Adjustable clubmans can also be found, but for the price, you might be better off with clipons.

Keep in mind that if you move from the stock bars to something low like clipons or clubmans, that the original footpegs will probably be very uncomfortable to use, and may need relocated. This can mean things like frame welding and metal fabrication, so if you're not up to this, consider drag bars.

You can mount clipons above the triple tree by sliding the forks up, but this will change the rake and trail of your bike, and make the handling much different. Research first!

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Edited by - borzwazie on Jun 07 2007 4:15:55 PM
 

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Considering how much time you spent writing all that out, absolutely not! I'm going to delete this entire thread.

OK, in all seriousness its a good idea. I'm also thinking about some more specific tech sections devoted to engine, suspension, electrical, etc and possibly even some bike specific forums, ie CB350. Suggestions anyone?

JD

ps. How long did that actually take you?
 

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borzwazie,
nice job...i hope they add the info some where, although i'll miss geeto's rant on the the clubmans!!

JS
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Less than an hour - I just thought of all the questions I asked <img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle>

I'm at home this week on vacation, my son was with my wife, and my daughter was asleep, so I figured why not?

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My own project:
http://www.caferacer.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2827
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quote:
borzwazie,
nice job...i hope they add the info some where, although i'll miss geeto's rant on the the clubmans!!

JS
I think instead of an explanation about clubmans it should just read "Ask Geeto!"

JD
 

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As a noob, I can contest to this being helpful and informative, thank you.

Although it just robbed me of any post I may make within the next 3 months.<img src=icon_smile_sad.gif border=0 align=middle>
 

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quote:

OK, in all seriousness its a good idea. I'm also thinking about some more specific tech sections devoted to engine, suspension, electrical, etc and possibly even some bike specific forums, ie CB350. Suggestions anyone?

JD

ps. How long did that actually take you?
would that cb350 forum include cl350? just wondering where your at with the high pipes?
speaking of high pipes......

Ride Fast and Take Chances
 

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i would like a place for links to maunals and other tech stuff for bikes


There is the right way, the wrong way and the british way to do anything!
 

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What's a clubman? Is that what you hit a newbie with.. Oh wait. :ducking: LOL!

I think this is an awesome idea. I hope that being a member for two days I'm not stomping on hallowed ground but I'm sure I could add a few things. For example:

Q: How far is too far to drive for a free bike?

A: My son, no distance is too far so long as you cover a few bases;

1 - You must at least 10 days worth of Hank Williams III, Gary Allan and Johnny Cash in your iPod. Regardless of how long the trip is. You never know when you'll get stuck somewhere with an overheating Land Rover and no parts in sight.

2 - You must have at least one hair brained buddy to go with you regardless if your bringing a dog. The dog doesn't have opposable thumbs and it's damn hard for him to drive, change the music and hand you a Redbull. Not in that order necessarily.

3 - The hair brained friend must be completely broke (and barefoot) so when you run out of money you have no choice but pan handle on the side of I95 somewhere between Atlanta and Jacksonville for gas money to get you to the next ATM. :)

4 - There must NOT be enough physical hours in the time frame you have allotted to complete the trip. And you must have something extremely important to do on Monday that you will be late for.

5 - You MUST stop at at least one rundown last resort restaurant at 11:00PM for food and think to yourself "What was that movie called? Oh yeah, Deliverance.."

Seriously though, this is a great idea. I'm open to it! Who should we send suggestions to for screening and posting additions?


...i did it one piece at a time
 

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I've got the entire CB450 Parts Catalogue in .PDF format. Tell me where to send it for posting. I'll have the complete service manual in a week or so as well... Happy to share!

...i did it one piece at a time
 

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Nice work, man.


Can I suggest it not be called "FAQ"? For some reason I (and I suspect a lot of others) see stuff titled like that and instintively (ignorantly? arrogantly?) dismiss it as boring boilerplate shit that probably doesn't apply to me. Like the "Help" button, or instructions to my new printer...

How about something like "FNG's Companion" or "Geeto's Corner"?

Just a suggestion.





Honda go sideways!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey, we don't have to name it FAQ, that's just standard internet wordage.

We could name it:

HEYSTUPIDNOOBSREADTHISFIRSTASSFACES

or

QUITASKINGSTOOPIDQUESTIONSREADTHIS

or

GEETOSBLOODPRESSUREISHIGHREADTHIS

or, what's probably most effective:

NAKED CHICKS HERE


**************************
My own project:
http://www.caferacer.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2827
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Oh sure, pick on me why don'tcha...


oh and by the way, if you've never spun a wrench the furtherest you should go for a free bike is back to the want adds for a job to make some money to buy a decient bike...since it is very rare for a free bike to be decent.






Edited by - geeto67 on Jun 08 2007 09:37:01 AM
 

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this forum runs on Geetos blood vessels ,bursting all over this board.mention clubmans and grab a rain coat and a mop.
It has been mentioned Im sure I have asked for it in the past .I just didnt do all the work you did..so congrats.And hope your work gets a home here of its own.

Im so far behind ,that I think Im in first.
 

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sounds like a fantastic idea. anything to keep me from looking like an ass. i like the idea of model specific forums for the popular ones.

...connoisseur of slack...
 
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