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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to start on my first cafe race and could use some advice I really like the cb550's but can't seem to find to many of them in or around my area are there any other option anyone would recommend for a fun canyon carver I know most if not all of them will need the suspension and brakes gone through to make them serious handlers so I am not worried about that I would also need something with a little more oomph being that I'm not the smallest person around any advice is greatly appreciated
 

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Is it also your first motorcycle? Get something Single cylinder.
If I was shopping for my first ever sport type motorcycle right now it would be a KTM RC390

To make an old CB anything handle seriously, you would need to put it in an RC frame.
 

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suzuki gs550/750/1000 kaw kz 550/650/750. yam xs650. get the “standard” model. no suz l’s , kaw ltd’s , yam specials, or honda custom models. nothing wrong with those bikes , just lacking in performance and styling some. please no honda cx’s ( unless its the turbo) or yam virago’s. if i see one more of those im going to choke myself to death.
 

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The CB350/4's, 400/4's and 500/4's had a pressed steel frame backbone, not tubular steel. This, imo, made them a better handling bike than the CB 750's.

I've had a 350/4 and a 500/4, as well as several 750/4s. My 500/4 handled very well in the tight twisties with progressive front springs, a set of Koni rear shocks and Clubman bars.

Would it out-handle a modern sports bike? No. Could you make it a respectable handling bike for the era it was made. Yes.

If that's the bike that interests you - go for it. (I believe that the 550 is pretty much the 500 - just an increase in CCs).
 

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The reason I mentioned RC models is because when Honda wanted to race motorcycles they historically had HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) develop the engines and chassis. Honda corp rarely raced on stock CB (City Bike) frames.
The first post has given us very little information that would allow us to give a decent recommendation. He or she lives somewhere in USA where there might be some canyons and they are not light weight (on average americans are overweight so maybe they are average weight), this could be their first ever motorcycle. That's not a lot to go on and I hesitate to recommend an old multi-cylinder motorcycle to anyone who has not indicated previous experience with motor mechanics, 4 cylinder engines have almost 4 times the parts to go wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The reason I mentioned RC models is because when Honda wanted to race motorcycles they historically had HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) develop the engines and chassis. Honda corp rarely raced on stock CB (City Bike) frames.
The first post has given us very little information that would allow us to give a decent recommendation. He or she lives somewhere in USA where there might be some canyons and they are not light weight (on average americans are overweight so maybe they are average weight), this could be their first ever motorcycle. That's not a lot to go on and I hesitate to recommend an old multi-cylinder motorcycle to anyone who has not indicated previous experience with motor mechanics, 4 cylinder engines have almost 4 times the parts to go wrong.
I have had an rc390 for about 4 years now and just want something different I really like the cafe racer style and with almost 10 years of expirence with automotive repair I'm not to concerned with the maintenance as a matter of fact it's one of my favorite part of owning a motorcycle is getting to spend a Saturday in the garage tinkering so I figured a classic was a great option thanks for all the great feedback
 

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imho Coming from an RC390 to a classic sport bike, I'd be looking at 2-stroke engines, they will have more impressive performance for you. Old 4-stroke technology pales in comparison to the modern 4-stroke technology represented in your KTM. Something like a Suzuki Titan, Kawasaki Mach III or Yamaha RD have built in oomph.
 

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Sounds interesting I'll take a look off the top of your head are there any particular thing to look for like certain model years good or bad
Yes, watch out for over-priced used motorcycles, the market seems to have gone totally crazy. People seem to think that old motorcycles double, triple or quadruple their value with age and neglect. Always compare the cost of old to a brand new current model motorcycle, you might save a whole bunch of money and end up with a much better functioning motorcycle.
 

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If you are looking to purchase old motorcycles in good condition the place to go is no longer free flea bay type listings on the net, go to a vintage motorcycle group website classified section or go to a vintage motorcycle rally in person.
 

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If you want to really get crazy there's a low milage 1982 CBX for sale in Hammer Ontario asking 10.5 canadian

7k for a full restored CB750K (your choice from 3 of them actually) and the guy says he can provide a safety.

both are CVMG marketplace listings
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I found a guy not to far from where I live that had someone back out of buying a cb550 so I'm headed out there tomorrow to pick it and a parts bike up.
 

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Does it have a title? Does it run?
 

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I found a guy not to far from where I live that had someone back out of buying a cb550 so I'm headed out there tomorrow to pick it and a parts bike up.
Take photos, you can tell a lot from a photo.
and try pushing it around so you realize how heavy it is, like 100 pounds on top of what you've been riding

... I found an unmolested Suzuki Titan in Quebec but the guy wants rude money for it
 

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A bit of homework beforehand, do some ballpark calculations for the following:

  • oil + filter change
  • tires
  • brake lines, fluid, possibly rebuild new master cylinder, rebuild calipers
  • fork oil, possibly new fork tubes, bushings, seals
  • new rear shocks
  • new chain and sprockets
  • New wheel and steering stem bearings
  • New throttle and clutch cables
  • New fuel lines and filter
  • rebuild petcock
  • thoroughly clean, rebuild, and balance carbs
  • new battery
  • plugs, coils, plug wires, points/Ignition

All those things are generally the MINIMUM you'll need to at least inspect before safely riding the bike. (And can vary wildly in price depending on if you keep stock or upgrade).

Now if you need to do engine work... thats an entirely different beast, especially if you've never done it before.

I would budget $1000 to get it safe to ride/running, though it could be as cheap as $500...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've done a fair bit of research before going this route and I'm really looking forward to the expirence of building my own bike exactly how I want it and if it take a year it takes a year if it take two it takes two I ha e other bikes I can ride until then I really appreciate all the help and advice from everybody
 
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