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Ive considered building a cb cafe racer from the frame up. I have no experience with bikes, but have rebulit motors from 240sx and rx7's. Ive also had a good bit of experience with some body work and odds and ends such as that.

Is it that difficult? Im looking into building a smaller cc motor, such as a 175,250, or 350cc cb. If I buy a frame with a bill of sale can I register it?
 

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To answer your 2nd question - maybe, it depends on the title laws in your state. Getting a frame with a title shouldn't be much of a problem.

However; starting with just a frame is not a great way to go. Most people think of building a bike as a frame, engine and two wheels - they forget about the thousands of little parts that are needed to complete the build and end-up spending way too much money in their build. Can it be done - yes. Is it cost effective - NO.

Your better off buying a complete bike and starting from that point. I guarantee even if your careful and bag every stink'en part and bolt, you'll end-up down at the hardware store looking for odds and ends...

So my advice is buy a complete bike and carefully bag and tag everything and put them in one or two boxes. The parts you end up replacing (like a tank and seat) you can later resell to recover some money on your build.

Building a bike is not difficult - Building a nice running & looking bike takes tons of time... have fun
 

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Welcome to the board. Motorcycle engines aren't too much different than auto engines, though they have their unique quirks. The CB twin motors you listed are good engines and easy to work on, and since they're 4-strokes, all the operating principals will be similiar to a car. If you are already a competant mechanic, you shouldn't have any problem crossing over into bikes. In fact, you'll probably like the relative simplicity of vintage motorcycles as compared to cars. Just make sure to get a good manual for whatever bike you pick as the basis for your build. As far as the frame goes, I know that stuff varies from state to state. It would probably be worth it to get a frame with a title, just to save the trouble. Since you're planning on building the bike from basically scratch, hopefully you have access to a lot of parts bikes or a bike salvage yard or the like. It would be hard to assemble a complete bike from the ground up without spending a fortune on all the little bits and pieces if you didn't have a parts bike or two to rob pieces from. Being new to bikes, you might want to consider buying a mostly complete, maybe non-running example of a bike you like, then stripping it to the frame and rebuilding it from the ground up. That way you have all the parts you need to assemble a whole bike, and can customize and change just what you want to. Just my two cents. Good luck
 

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ok, first off Fill in your Bio, some of the questions you asked are location specific and we can't answer them without knowing where you are.

Lets break this up:

If you have no expirence with bikes then buy the best example of a bike that you can afford. No junk. If you really want to build a "world class" clean build you will tear down and rebuild that bike about 2-3 times, with the last time being mostly cosmetic. Buy a running bike with a title. Don't buy garbage.

Don't have the money? Save it up and buy good. It is always cheaper to buy someone elses hard work than it is to spend your own. These bikes are notorious money pits the first couple of times around. Even a cb350 can run you several thousand by the time you are done, most people don't notice because they spend it a little at a time. Remember the most expensive bike in the world is a free one.

Once you have bought your bike the first thing you should do is make sure everything works and is up to snuff. This may be the first time you actually build the bike up from nothing depending on how bad an example you bought. Keep it stock and learn everything there is to know about it. If there is bad wiring fix it. If the signals don't work fix them even though you know you may ditch them later. Buildings are built on solid foundations, hot rods and bikes are the same way.

Don't build a HOMO-Racer. Every good build starts with a plan and a focus. Cafe racers are functional bikes first and formost, they are not race bikes but they are as close as you can get while still fitting the needs of the owner/rider. A homo-racer throws some clubmans on it, a bum stop seat and calls it a day as he poses on it for "the ladies". A cafe racer gets the most performance out of an old piece of iron while still being able to use it as transportation. Just like the old hot rods and street machines of the 1950s through 1980s, a cafe racer was your ride all the time, it took you to work, it took you home and it provided a thrill. Build with that in mind.

AS for the bill of sale.....well it depends on your states laws...here in NY you can register any pre 1972 or older vehicle with a bill of sale (provided it is not in the system). Other states have other requiements. If you are worried about it buy a bike with a title.
 

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Yeah, what they said.

Especially if you're new to bikes start with a complete one. If you try to build one up part by part, having never been around them, your're just asking for trouble. HOw do you know what's missing if you don't know what's suppsoed to be there to begin with?

It'll be challenging enough starting with a complete bike...
 

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my $ .02 on this topic is more about time. It is carved in stone somewhere that it will take twice as long as you think, know that going in and it will be cool. Underestimate the time and you will doom the project to frustration and the whole deal will suck. It will sit in your shop neglected, a nagging reminder of your own deficiencies, until you post it on CL or plain ol' give it away. Be realistic about the time resource.
cheers, bcr
 

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absolutely get at least a rolling bike with motor in it and assembled. even if its been sitting in someones yard for 20 years, buy something thats all together. that way you at least have rotted pieces to compare to the new stuff. dont even think about starting with a frame only. piles of things can change through a manufacture run, that can have you going insane. from swing arms to front ends. make your life easy and get something thats got all the parts there, and build from it. that way, when youre looking a set of mislabled cb750k forks, at the junkyard, you know youre not buying ss forks. or a 77 550k switch, vs a 76 550f switch. etc....do one or two, then youll have an idea of what works and what dosnt. what you want, and what you dont. then youll have the initiative to start over again. but dont start from scratch. youll have enough of a hard time just figuring out where things have to go. even if you know what they look like. besides, the amount of hardware youll need to buy, to build something, becomes staggering. trust me, i replaced every single nut and bolt on my race bike during the rebuild with factory parts. replaced them. it was nearly retarded, but it looks fantastic, and just that alone is a detail most people never even ntice. one that im quite proud of. i cant imagine doing that to a street going bike, because you have to. because you dont have the right 25x8x1.5 bolts for something.

jc
 

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1. Buy a complete non-running bike.
2. Get it running and roadworthy.
3. Have fun.
4. Start building your frame, etc...
5. Buy another non-running donor bike, get it running, and transfer all the parts to your newly built frame.
6. You now have two bikes.

Piecing a bike together, even from a rolling frame, is incredibly expensive given the time required sourcing the parts, researching what parts work together, shipping cost for parts, etc...

If you want to race AHRMA then you need a pre 1974(I think) production bike and if you don't want to race then there is no need to build a frame-up bike unless it's just for pure enjoyment.

Your enthusiasm is appreciated and if you start to build be sure to post pictures.
 

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First off find yourself a completely stock bike not too far gone and RIDE IT get familiar with every single inch of it before you start fucking with it. Stock tune up's are good way to start and pretty hard to get wrong after a few goes. Get a Honda service manual and read it. Sounds like you have a decent set of tools already. Be prepared to fork out $$$ for OEM Honda shit like seals and gaskets hardware rebuild kits etc. Good Tires Bridgestones/Avons/Metzlers should be one of the first things to replace on these old ass shitters. Use the search function here and do your research. +1 on setting out with a PLAN OF ACTION. Most importantly enjoy your new ride...
 

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Another thing to consider:

If you're looking to take on a build, I'd also recommend researching the different models not just on a basis of looks, but also of availability of both replacement and aftermarket parts. There's a huge difference between building a CB350 and a CB77; price being a major one.

Given that relative rarity of parts has a direct affect on price, a simple test for which models might be easier (hence, cheaper) to restore involves heading over to ebay motors and typing in the model names of different bikes and counting the number of pages of items listed for that bike. Just tried it: for the above models, even after including "ebay store" items, the CB77 returned just 11 pages, while cb350 returned 41.

Granted, there is two different models of CB350, but you get my point.
 

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I did exactly what you are contemplating. Bought a titled frame, wheels, swingarm, forks...

I also bought a couple parts motors off a guy who had a complete (seized motor) cl350 that he sold me for $22. I later bought a running parts bike (no title) from another guy for $85. Bought yet another motor off a guy, who ended up selling me many other parts off the same bike. I also spent a lot of time driving around picking up all these parts, spent a lot of gas money, and shipping. All told, I have approximately $1000 into this project, but I did get 3 complete bikes outta the deal.

That said, 2yrs later, my project runs, mostly, and I have a big pile of junk to go with it. for the $1000 I spent, I prolly could have gotten a decent runner, and I'd have much more space in my garage, basement, bedroom, dining room, in catboy's garage, etc.

However, it has been fun to assemble a pile of parts into one complete unit.
 
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