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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,
I'm looking for advice on which bike to chose for my first build and my first bike. I am currently 6'2" and age 15 so looking to be 6'4" most likely, i need help for advice on which kind of models i should be looking for on the market which would fit me for when i can ride and will suit as a good first project cafe bike.

My budget is under £1000 for the base price of the bike ideally under £800, i'm looking at the 70s/ early 80s bikes like the first gen suzuki gsx750, aswell as yamaha xs series, kawasaki z series. I was wondering if you had any advice on specifically which models i should be looking out for within budget that i would also be able to work on, and where i could find a bike in the UK ideally in east anglia or nearby. Also if you have any other advice for me on where to start in relationship with a build it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)
 

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It's a common mistake for new to the sport riders to think that the physical size of a motorcycle as it relates to rider size has anything to do with displacement of the engine. Forget that notion and see if you can find a good motorcycle show happening in your vicinity. Look for the shows that cater to motorcycle dealerships and wholesales as those are the best ones to view a large variety of motorcycle makes and models, plus they have bikes that you are allowed to saddle test (sit on without being told to get off) Sounds like you have plenty of time to shop, so don't be in a huge hurry to buy anything. Use that time to save more money too because the nicer bike you start out with the better your chances of enjoying the experience will improve, plus there are a lot of expensive items required like a helmet which will cut into your budget. One other thing, don't buy any street bike until you know how much it will cost you to insure that motorcycle.
And one last thing :/ I thought the UK had a graduated license scheme the denies you from starting on anything larger then ~125cc or similar horsepower?

I'm sure others with far more UK related experience will chime in shortly.


"tear shaped tanks with a flat bottom" that's a very interesting criteria to shop for motorcycles by :/ I can't say I have ever set out to buy a motorcycle based on it having a flat bottom. Is that really important?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the help, would I be right in saying generally though I would need a bigger bike suitable as Ill be a fairly big guy or otherwise what kind of size generally would you say is enough to be fun to ride and have enough power. Is there anything to look out for when trying out different bikes for size? The UK riding laws i believe are at 16 you can ride 50cc 17 up to 125cc and 19 you can ride any bike under 96bhp restricted to 36bhp which is the a2 licence, at 21 if you've ridden for 3 years prior or 24 you can ride any unrestricted bike. Thanks for the help it's good to see an active community.
 

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Hello Ben.
Not sure where to start here.
You're going to be struggling to find anything for your £600 budget.
As TR said you have a few hoops to jump through before you can ride a max 47hp bike on an A2 licence. Even then it'll rule out a 750 I guess.
I'd suggest you save for a half decent 125, and clean/service that until your'e 17.
As you're not exactly a short arse go for something like an XL125...... HONDA VARADERO 125, 2004 MODEL BIKE | eBay
 

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There are some very knowledgeable guys from the UK on the forum who will be able to tell you how realistic your financial expectations are. Don't know if you read the "Read this first" sticky in the introduction thread but you should. The members here would love to help you make a sound purchase and discuss how to improve it but you are not likely to get positive feedback if your priority is what it looks like.

" I'm into cafe bikes because of their style" and " as well as tear shaped tanks with a flat bottom" are not going to garner positive responses. You have never had a bike and from the sounds of it are to young to have even ridden a road bike. "I'm looking for advice on which bike to choose for my first bike" would be a good question to start with, then people with decades of road experience could suggest what bikes and why.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay thanks for the advice, to reword my aim, what i want to build upon my mechanical knowledge and learn to a greater extent the workings of motorcycles, and to finish with a bike that i can certainly call my own that i have gone to work on and built my self. Cafe racers specifically i was drawn to because of the originality of the bikes in that any classic bike that has been made into one its very own and reflects the builder. Essentially to me the attraction of these bikes are that they a showcase an accumulation of the builder's mechanical and creative prowess. I am set on the goal of building my own bike, personally a fairly modern factory built 125cc is not what i am looking for and therefore i could not see my self committing the money i have earned to one. In regards to "tear drop shaped tank" i understand how this should be worded better, and will warrant bad responses to my initial post thanks for the feedback.
 

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Cafe racers specifically i was drawn to because of the originality of the bikes in that any classic bike that has been made into one its very own and reflects the builder.
The vast majority of "cafe racer builds" are junk, they're art projects not motorcycles. This is a prime example.
8a236d2a578a03271022666e6ada176a.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
i understand what you mean, and how would say its best to find the medium between art project and functionality, personally i would not daily a bike and am into the aesthetic of the bikes but certainly respect that its a machine and its pointless to compromise it in order for looks
 

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i understand what you mean, and how would say its best to find the medium between art project and functionality, personally i would not daily a bike and am into the aesthetic of the bikes but certainly respect that its a machine and its pointless to compromise it in order for looks
The beauty of a bike is how it functions, not how it looks. If you want to understand motorcycles start from the beginning.
 

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Okay thanks for the advice, to reword my aim, what i want to build upon my mechanical knowledge and learn to a greater extent the workings of motorcycles, and to finish with a bike that i can certainly call my own that i have gone to work on and built my self. Cafe racers specifically i was drawn to because of the originality of the bikes in that any classic bike that has been made into one its very own and reflects the builder. Essentially to me the attraction of these bikes are that they a showcase an accumulation of the builder's mechanical and creative prowess. I am set on the goal of building my own bike, personally a fairly modern factory built 125cc is not what i am looking for and therefore i could not see my self committing the money i have earned to one. In regards to "tear drop shaped tank" i understand how this should be worded better, and will warrant bad responses to my initial post thanks for the feedback.
Bullshit.

Buy a bike that runs. That you can legally ride. Then make it run well and keep it that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
so its the best to buy a bike strip it down and make it work the best it possibly can? so tune it and clean everything and make it work smoothly before making any alterations to aesthetic
 

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There are only 2 types of people, those who ride motorcycles and those who don't. Just so you know, this place is full of people who ride motorcycles.
I'm really not sure where people who build chopped up, stripped down, POS former motorcycles with defective suspension parts belong in the scheme of things. bobberbuilders.net perhaps? Personally if I pulled up next to a contraption like that at an intersection, I would be pointing and laughing at all the wrong.

Let me tell you something about motorcycles back in the 1970's :/ if we had access to the motorcycles they build now back then, we would not have been buying the 1970's twin shock, drum brake, built for a price motorcycles. They really were not that great! There were exceptions but even those were great because nothing better existed, or because they were built in the 1950's and earlier, those were the bikes we liked to just look at :/ but we didn't hack them up and make them stupid useless, we treated them like antiques. This cafe culture that has sprung up around the concept of 'personalizing an old motorcycle' with an angle grinder and cheap pop parts is a crock, it's the equivalent of ...
well it's the equivalent of this: http://brunorigolt.blog.lemonde.fr/files/2012/10/Joconde_MixArt_LEF_Bruno_Rigolt_2012_7.jpg
 

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so its the best to buy a bike strip it down and make it work the best it possibly can? so tune it and clean everything and make it work smoothly before making any alterations to aesthetic
You shouldn't be buying a bike that needs a bunch of work. You need to learn to ride, properly, safely first. You need riding gear that will keep you from getting mangled when shit happens...and it will. Get your ego in check, buy a modern 125, you have decades ahead to buy bigger or "build".
 

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so its the best to buy a bike strip it down and make it work the best it possibly can? so tune it and clean everything and make it work smoothly before making any alterations to aesthetic
NO!. You're priority should be getting experience, and passing your test, which at the moment means riding a 125.
If you take a quick look on ebay you'll see how much GSX/Z 750's sell for. They are way over your budget.
 

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so its the best to buy a bike strip it down and make it work the best it possibly can? so tune it and clean everything and make it work smoothly before making any alterations to aesthetic
Why are you trolling? If you're real and do it that way, at your age you'll end up with several boxes of junk. Buy a running bike, keep it running.
 

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Let me get this straight, you want your first bike build to be something you can't legally ride for at least 4 years? "so its the best to buy a bike strip it down and make it work the best it possibly can? so tune it and clean everything and make it work smoothly before making any alterations to aesthetic" , that
's the mistake most noobs make, buy a running bike, strip it down to the frame so they can paint it and they end up with a bunch of parts in a box to sell on CL. Don't strip it down. Ride it for a year making improvements to what ever the bike tells you it needs. Riding it will tell you what you want to change. Once it is all sorted it is at that time you want to strip it all down and make it pretty before final assembly and riding it for years of enjoyment.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Cheers for clearing up on that on procedure of how to diagnose problems and the best way to go about a build.
To me riding is the secondary interest in bikes and the mechanics and engineering side is the greater interest to me.
 

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Go for it but, here is how your bike is going to end up:

"Selling my 1982 Suzuki GS550L motorcycle.
Amazing cafe racer project or restoration project.
I'm selling because I don't have time to restore it.
My plan was to transform it into a cafe racer.
Motor did run before taking it apart. Sounds great.
I have all parts." <- 800$

here's another beauty:
"I AM SELLING A 1982 HONDA CB 750. I PURCHASED IT TO MODIFY INTO A CAFE RACER BUT NEVER GOT THE CHANCE. I HAVE STARTED TAKING IT APART BUT HAVE ALL THE PARTS. ONCE PUT BACK TOGETHER RUNS GREAT. IT HAS A NEW ODOMETER BUT KLM ARE 320K. I HAVE THE OWNERSHIP AS WELL." <- 1200$

lol if only this next one looked as good as the mocked up photo, but it actually has a block of wood holding up the motor:
"1982 Virago 750 Cafe Racer Project Bike.
This bike looks as shown in photo. I have a list of parts that come with the bike and modifications/ fabrications completed. Most of the fabrication is completed at this point. Only a few minor things left to do then ready for paint and reassembly. Comes with ownership.
Comes with 2008 Yamaha R6 front end complete and mounted
Aluminum rear sets
Solo seat fabricated and and mounted
Exhaust custom made particularly for this cafe
New baffles and muffler
All handle bar controls are new
New throttle body
New clip ons
New coke bottle grips
New LED headlight with integrated blinkers
New regulator rectifier
New antigravity 8 cell battery
Used ignition coils but tested as good
New clutch lever
New brake lever fully adjustable
All this project needs to complete is a few fabricated mounts, some wiring modifications, paint and reassembly. Maybe a few other miscellaneous parts to complete. I figure about $1000-1500 for completion.
With all the mods and parts purchased, this bike is currently worth $4500
The only reason I am selling this cafe project is because I just don't have any time to put into it anymore" <- 2800$

The used junk sites are full of these, all you have to do is search for the term "cafe racer"
 

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....
To me riding is the secondary interest in bikes and the mechanics and engineering side is the greater interest to me.
So why do you want to start out with a motorcycle that represents 45 year old obsolete engineering? You might as well study up on steam engines.
 
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