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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

can we make a list of bikes that show up often on the used market in the sub-$1000 dollar range that have good potential for a cafe build? I'm currently looking at a 1981 Suzuki GS750 for $800 and I would like some opinions on whether this particular bike is a good platform, and if you guys have some recommendations on bikes to keep an eye out for I'd like to compile a list and keep it at the top of this thread.
 

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Pretty straightforward, look for old bikes that were or are raced. They will have a huge aftermarket and lots of proven performance improvements.

Cost is generally a red herring.... buy the best specimen of the make and model you're looking for that you can afford. For a beginner, a sub-$1000 vintage bike is generally a terrible idea.

Also, prices vary wildly between states, regions, and countries. For example, I could easily sell my '79 GS750 for $3000 in New England or the west coast... but here in central/north texas and in kentucky, nobody wants it for even $2500.
 
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Pretty straightforward, look for old bikes that were or are raced. They will have a huge aftermarket and lots of proven performance improvements.

Cost is generally a red herring.... buy the best specimen of the make and model you're looking for that you can afford. For a beginner, a sub-$1000 vintage bike is generally a terrible idea.

Also, prices vary wildly between states, regions, and countries. For example, I could easily sell my '79 GS750 for $3000 in New England or the west coast... but here in central/north texas and in kentucky, nobody wants it for even $2500.
Hello Hipster,
Welcome to the junk pile. Since we started racing vintage motorbikes the one thing I've learned is that the thing that is most important in what a seller is asking for a bike and why he's selling it.
1. Loves the bike but health/wife/insurance is forcing the sale. These will often have a high price because the seller doesn't really want to sell the thing in the first place, so be careful.
2. It is a project that turned out to be far more than they had expected. These are many times a great deal but be watchful as everyone will tell you "all the parts are in these boxes".......NOT !
3. They pulled the thing into the garage 5 years ago and just never rode it again. The seller is tired of working around the thing and has lost interest. These folks usually have totally lost interest and haven't even kept up on prices. This usually are really good deals.
Always make sure you can turn the engine over. This need not be with a starter (that would be good) even if you need to put it in gear and bump it without plugs. Engines that are locked up can be no real problem to you or you are totally F#*ked 'cause the reason it's parked is that the engine is broken.
One last thing that I shall pass along (this is not necessarily a guide to buying cafe rebuild bikes) when you are looking at a motorbike that is clapped out, crashed, doesn't run or has been sleeping out in the rain. If the engine will turn over or even start then the bike is really worth what you can get for the engine alone. This wee bit of info comes from a old friend that was and still is a rather successful breaker. The engine is the value everything else is gravy so when I look at a pile I only add value to the price I'm willing to pay if it has things such as a perfect OEM seat (restorers will give you top $ many times for these) or aftermarket bit that I'm going to use in my project and can be rebuilt..
One last thought. Many times I have gone to see a bike that has sat for years and as soon as the seller and I start talking I make my offer and he's come-back is "but look it has brand new tires" New tires that still have the little mold nipples and all the tread but have been sitting there for years are not new. They will only be a pain or cost to change so to buy into that.
By the way that GS750 is a great place to start there were a lot of those bike sold and many were raced. The 1100's are hard to find parts for because these engines were pulled out of the motorcycles and used in race cars they also were a favorite drag race engine. Lots of race parts out there (some even will work on the 750) but basic OEM engine and transmission bits (not to mention whole engines) for the 1100 can be a bitch to find and can be costly. Body and chassis bits on the other hand are everywhere because people stripped them down to race and stuffed the take-offs in boxes.
Cheers and have fun.
Rich
 

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The question is a bit like Alice asking which path to take. The answer depends on where you want to go and if you don't have a destination in mind, it doesn't much matter which bike you buy.

You want a reliable bike that needs little to no work, buy the best bike you can afford.

You want something that reminds you of a Manx Norton or AJS7R, then look for a single that can easily be modified to get that look.

Want a T120TT look, start with an XS650

Want a 4 cylinder bike that looks like some sort living dead inspired device, start with a more modern 4 cylinder bike.

Want a 2 stroke, ... well you get what I am saying here.

Some of us want a bike that we can lighten and improve performance as a replica race bike from whatever era we prefer. others of us want brown skateboard seats and off road tires. Some of us have complete workshops and others are building in an apartment or basement.

It all comes down to what you want to end up with. GS750s were great bikes for the time and perform respectably. If that paticular bike needs a big investment but you have the skills, go for it. But it's easiest to reach a destination when you know where you want to go.
 

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81- is that the 8valve or 16 valve motor? the 8 might be easier to find aftermarket performance parts. “L” model , leave it.
Thats the 16.
You'd be surprised, there's not as many upgrades for the 8 valve GS750 as you'd think... then again I'm comparing it to the options for kawasaki Z's and KZ's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So it turns out this bike listed as "Clean Title" has all kinds of issues with the title. There's always a problem with the title....

Teazer mentioned "knowing what I want" I'm basically looking for something that had balls coming from the factory, I don't wanna be doing heavy engine modifications and spending big dollars to squeeze a few extra HP out of an underpowered motor. I'd like to concentrate on braking, steering, and suspension mods to make a bike that is already fast handle better. A healthy aftermarket would be ideal. I love the look of skateboard seats and firestone re-pops and horrible riding posture, but I prefer the feel of a cushy seat, an upright posture, and tires that corner well. I'm trying to avoid bikes with a short model life (Like the kz440 I currently have with kehin 1931 cv36 carbs that I can't find pilot jets or primary main jets or adjustable needles for..... and the god awful 16" rear tire)
 

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Well I've got a running, clean titled GS750E thats already had all the good stuff done to it.... its yours if you want it
 
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A cafe racer candidate needs to be street legal, insurable and licensable or it's only good for closed course use and that would make it a race biker a pit bike or an art project What's the most economical model platform to build on, that's easy; a 2-stroke street legal motorcycle. Two stroke engines are by far the most simple engine to work on, 2-strokes have fewer parts to repair or replace, they historically out-performed the 4-stroke offerings of the same vintage and not many people that have one stored somewhere inside are looking to put it back on the road, so you might even find one for your 1000$
... don't buy anything until you can confirm that you can obtain affordable insurance for it.
 

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ive got a title for a suz 750
You've got a complete Suzuki 750 that is plated or near road ready and you are willing to sell it to him for a grand or less?
... he should jump on that offer because you are basically sponsoring him :cool: Kinda like when I sold my old Honda FT500 to a friend last year for 400$ with the expectation that he will never likely get around to putting it on the road but the thing was useless to me, I only paid 1450$ when it was brand new and it owed me nothing. A grand is not much money any more, I can spend that on one shopping cart full of groceries at costco.
 

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Stuff costs what it is worth.

Starting a project search with a budget is dumb. Understand what you want to do, and what that should cost. Maybe you find a deal in that category.
But focusing only on sub $1000 makes little sense. If you cant afford things, dont buy them.

There are plenty of $2500 bikes out there that are FAR cheaper then a $1000 project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Stuff costs what it is worth.

Starting a project search with a budget is dumb. Understand what you want to do, and what that should cost. Maybe you find a deal in that category.
But focusing only on sub $1000 makes little sense. If you cant afford things, dont buy them.

There are plenty of $2500 bikes out there that are FAR cheaper then a $1000 project.
You're right, I probably shouldn't have put a number on it. Every bike I ever loved cost me way more that I planned.
 

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whats the best way to get it from texas to ohio?
Uship is what I've used.

I need to free up space, funding, and motivation to finish my CB77....
 

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You've got a complete Suzuki 750 that is plated or near road ready and you are willing to sell it to him for a grand or less?
... he should jump on that offer because you are basically sponsoring him :cool: Kinda like when I sold my old Honda FT500 to a friend last year for 400$ with the expectation that he will never likely get around to putting it on the road but the thing was useless to me, I only paid 1450$ when it was brand new and it owed me nothing. A grand is not much money any more, I can spend that on one shopping cart full of groceries at costco.
i didnt say anything about a bike. i do have a title for a 750 suz ,no bike. what good is title without the bike you ask. you’d be suprised. got a bunch of them.
 

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Pretty straightforward, look for old bikes that were or are raced. They will have a huge aftermarket and lots of proven performance improvements.

Cost is generally a red herring.... buy the best specimen of the make and model you're looking for that you can afford. For a beginner, a sub-$1000 vintage bike is generally a terrible idea.

Also, prices vary wildly between states, regions, and countries. For example, I could easily sell my '79 GS750 for $3000 in New England or the west coast... but here in central/north texas and in kentucky, nobody wants it for even $2500.
guy at the ahrma race in SC had a nice 8 valve race bike. sorta nice- blown engine, his was a 985cc, ive heard of the early ama superbikes being 944. dont know what he did to it to get it to 985. maybe thats why it blew, he talked of replacing it with the 16 valve at some point.
 
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