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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a noob, feel free to flame. I will try and keep my questions specific, and have read through the FAQ!

I'm a 6'6 guy looking at getting in to the cafe racer scene, and have been riding for a few (6?) years. My first bike was an 87 Yamaha Virago, but it was MUCH to small and has since departed. Recently it has been an 07 Suzuki SV650S, but that is now also gone due to financial issues.

I love the look of the classic cafe racers, and was hoping to do a conversion over the next year or so. My motorcycle mechanical experience is rather limited, but I do most work on my car (and Audi A4, not an easy vehicle to figure out) and learn quickly.

My problem, as the title states, is finding a bike suitable to my size. Being 6.5 feet tall, I feel rather cramped on most sport bikes. I've come to accept that I will never be as comfortable as most, but the riding is worth it. From my research so far, it's looking like the following may be suitable bikes to start with:

Suzuki GS1000/750
Honda CB1100F/900F/750F
(late 70s - early 80s for all)

Does anyone have any insight, or suggestions as to a larger bike I could begin with? Any help is very much appreciated!
 

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One of the fellas, Geeto67, is like 9' tall or something and he's got a CB750 that he rides a lot (among 20-30 other bikes of various sizes). Your inseam will also help some of the guys here form an opinion.

And welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
quote:Originally posted by DubleR

One of the fellas, Geeto67, is like 9' tall or something and he's got a CB750 that he rides a lot (among 20-30 other bikes of various sizes). Your inseam will also help some of the guys here form an opinion.

And welcome!
Thanks DubleR! My inseam is a 36 I believe, I haven't been measured in a few years.
 

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I do not know this "Scene" and "Style" you speak of....maybe we just don't hang out in the same gay bars. I really don't have time to tell you how damaged your motorcycle world view is, all I can tell you is turn off discovery channel and start hanging out in bike shops in the real world.



that being said - I am 6'5" 34" inseam (long bodied, long arms). My daily ride (before I decided to put more miles on the ducati) is a 1977 GS750 that I modified to "tall man" specs. Basically the mod was fitting a set of 14.5" cb900F aftermarket shocks (Vipex is the brand -no longer in business) to raise the rear up. I like it but it isn't for everybody and you have to be a real man to lift the bike off the side stand.

here are a few pics of the bike (in the background of the last two pics):





you don't have to raise the bike for it to be comfortable, I just happened to really like it on this bike and I used to use it for a lot of two up riding. This bike happens to handle like a dream.

I have had some lowered bikes as well, they handle like shit but one is a drag bike and the other now belongs to my brother who is no where as tall as me.

This is my kz900:



as far as bikes go it is the size of a freight train. the lowering doesn't really make it worse for tall riders, the peg position-seat-bar relation does. On this bike is isn't terrible for street riding, the problem is I don't ride it on the street and it really needs rearsets for the way I do ride it (1/4 mile at a time).


This is my ducati:



funny thing about ducati's - they are designed for apes. If you have freakishly long arms and short legs this bike is made for you. I love it but my other tall friends.....ahem...Derby....positvely hate it. It is an extremely agressive riding position. Another friend, buckets, has a 2007 with the lowered pegs and raised bars and he seems to like it a lot. Guzzi's are the same way - short legs and long arms my 1980 lemans has a great position for me, too bad the motor is fucked:


I have ridden a lot of SOHC bikes over the years, some pics of the ones I have owned/still own below:




and ol' blue:
http://www.motorcycleclassics.com/motorcycle-review/long-island-on-a-1975-honda-cb750.aspx


Let me be blunt, the SOHC is fine as a solo mount for a tall guy. But anything else it gets cramped. And you will kinda look like a bear riding a tricycle but not as bad as something like a T500.


This is my old cb750F. Configured for my shorter than me brother:

http://www.vinmoto.org/gallery/d/38548-2/1979_Honda_SS_right_side.jpg

Let me start by saying the seat is a horrible idea. I can live with it but someone taller or with longer legs is gonna hate it. a lot.


Forget what you think you know about cafe racers, checker boards, reliving the 60's or what have you. Your place is in the halycon days of the superbike wars of the early 1980s. All the bikes that will fit you and you will enjoy riding are from that era. Google wes cooley, freddie spencer cb750F, and Eddie Lawson and you'll see what I am talking about fast. These bikes have their own following, and were the cafe racers I grew up with, not this ton up fish and chips cheerio bullshit.

That being said the bikes I suggest are as follows:

cb750/900/1100F (F model supersports only! no K,L or C bikes)
KZ900/1000/Z1R (again no LTDs or any other chopper looking crap)
GS750/1000/1100 (no G models - basically if it looks like a factory chopper stay away - you want bench seats)
Any tonti framed guzzi (lemans, T3, 1000s, etc)
860GT and GTS ducati
GPZ900/1100 (think top gun)
VF1000F or VF1000R (even the 750 is ok, no 500s though)
1986-87 ZX1000R ninja (750 is ok if you can find one)
1986-87 GSXR1100 (750 is ok if you can afford one)

Basically you want to stay away from anything under 750ccs. The exception is usually a two stroke and the GPZ550 kawasaki which is huge for a 550. The kawasaki h1 500 from 73-76 is pretty big as well (if you can afford the 750 h2 even better).

Sportsters are kind of hit or miss. even though the XLCR is a long bike the riding position generally sucks. it is best you avoid it althogether.
 

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oh, and buy stock in the company that makes bar end mirrors. They are the only mirrors I use because the are the only mirrors that don't give me a clear view of my shoulders and nothing else.
 

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I hope others chime in, all snarky comments aside. UJMs from the late 70s to early 80s tended to have long inseams. Suzuki GS models {absolutely no "L" models}, Honda CB "F" models, Kawasaki KZ and GPZ models {no "LTDs} would be a good place to start. You would actually have to sit on them to make a final judgement. Also, if you found one where the fit was close, but not quite, the final fit could be done with seat and peg alterations. Although some here bemoan use of the term "cafe", I don't care a whit. Now, as a general rule, these bikes tend to get modded towards their "Superbike" counterparts. Google Suzuki GS1000S or Kawasaki GPZ1100 for an OEM interpretation.
Cafe?? Superbike?? Whatever floats yer boat, so long as what you create functions really well.
 

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Geeto- is that a factory quilt pattern seat on the bike in the fourth pic down? It looks pretty sweet.
 

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Geeto,

Is the diamond pattern seat on the T500 now? I like that! So Vipex went out? Still got a spare set to trade/sell me?

RJB,

The '69 T500 had a diamond pattern seat top. The '68 looked like suede and the rest had the equally spaced parallel lines running side to side.

Oakfield,

78-80 GS1000
81-83(?) GS1100
84-85 GS1150

Damned near bullet proof engines (switch to a better reg/rec), lots of suspension parts that swap from other Suzukis pretty easily, and enough power to embarrass more modern motorcycles from time to time. Some are probably tired of me trotting out this photo of mine but:



Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Cool, thanks Geeto67 for the help. Looks like you have/had quite a few! It seems like there are quite a few that would work, but the availibity of bikes here in Canada are rather limited. The most common probably being any Suzuki GS model, or Honda CB. I imagine this is how it will be most places. I'll try and cut my gay bar attendance, thanks for that tip also.

Diamondj, that's a good looking bike also, thanks for sharing!
 

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I am 6'2" with a 34 inseam and 35 sleeve length and the T500 fits me well. I also am doing a t250 and I like it as well though some may think I look like a giraffe on it.

 

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I just picked up a GS750e on the cheap and I'm 6'4". I had no idea how (too) small my CM400 was for me until I got that bike. It fits me at least very well, and although heavy, there is a huge resource avaliable (thegsresource.com) and the bikes handle well and even seem like it would tour well if you want to do that. Lots of room to move around on long trips to not get fatigued. And the engines, especially the early 8-valve ones, are basically bulletproof. A bit on the heavy side with a highish CG, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal as long as you're prepared for it. Once moving it hides its weight very well.

And not to thredjack, but Geeto...if you have any more of those Vipex shocks...well, the stockers suck. 'nuff said. PM on it's way. My bike is here:
http://www.thegsresources.com/_forum/showthread.php?t=183004
 

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The only way to get vipex shocks these days is when someone sells a set on the cb1100F.net board. I did have to mod mine slightly to fit a GS but it was literally making a spacer for the upper shock mount rubbers.

However a word of caution - the vipex shocks came sprung for a 500+ lbs bike with a 230+ lbs rider. IF you are lighter than 230 you are gonna find them more than a little harsh. There are some guys who had theirs resprung but most guys dumped their sets when there was an ohlins group buy on shocks about a year or two ago. I think new the shocks were $250 and most sets are about $150 when they come up. Some of the guys who still have sets got wise and ask $200 but for a bigger guy to me ther are totally worth it.

FYI, progressive will sell you a 14.5 in shock in one of their 400 series shocks - not as fancy but they work well and will be closer to your weight. Stock length is either 13 or 13.5 and if I had it to do again I would probably go with 14" shocks instead of 14.5. Fitting inch longer shocks however has 2 drawbacks: 1) you lose the center stand, and 2) you have to run a looser chain tolerance = chain noise. For a while I thought about a spring loaded skate wheel to take up the chain slack but I don't think I have the time or the drive to fab one up - the chain noise didn't bother me that much.
 

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Okay, good to know. I only weigh in at 175 or thereabouts, so they would probably be a bit rough. I had a few people tell me the EMGO/MDI shocks would work, but apparently they are all kinds of harsh as well.

I'll take a look at the progressives, and I've been looking at Hagons as well. I'll probably go for something stockish in length; the last thing that bike needs is an even higher CG. Thanks for the advice!

/threadjack
 
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