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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Long time lurker, first time poster.

4 weeks ago I had this KZ440 given to me. I've been wanting to do a cafe racer build for some time, so I dove in and "finished" it in 4 weeks. This is my first project - learned a lot and still have some issues/ questions so I thought I would post here. I'll start with a before and after photo, then post pics of the process.


Before:
1 copy.jpeg


After:
new.jpg
 

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Long time lurker, first time poster.

4 weeks ago I had this KZ440 given to me. I've been wanting to do a cafe racer build for some time, so I dove in and "finished" it in 4 weeks. This is my first project - learned a lot and still have some issues/ questions so I thought I would post here. I'll start with a before and after photo, then post pics of the process.


Before:
View attachment 19474


After:
View attachment 19477
ugh. What sections were you lurking in here that would find that even remotely passable?
 

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Long time lurker, first time poster.

4 weeks ago I had this KZ440 given to me. I've been wanting to do a cafe racer build for some time, so I dove in and "finished" it in 4 weeks. This is my first project - learned a lot and still have some issues/ questions so I thought I would post here. I'll start with a before and after photo, then post pics of the process.
Corey you have a lot of issues. I don't think showing the process is going to get you any responses you want to hear.
 

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I guess I didn't realize the forum is made up of 6 people and thought I could get some genuine feedback.
Corey there is no way you have read anything on this forum or your bike would not be the way it is, either that or you just read the threads and did the opposite to what was recommended. The model of bike, tires, suspension changes, riding position, front and rear clearance, lack of fenders, taillight, pods are just some of the things that will be criticized and all are areas that are discussed at length on this forum.
 

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I guess I didn't realize the forum is made up of 6 people and thought I could get some genuine feedback.
I'll play. The bike has poor tires(not hi performance street tires), It has a marginal, lowered suspension, so less performance than stock (not aftermarket fork springs, emulators, high performance rear shocks an inch or so longer than standard). Terrible ergonomics that place the rider in a cramped, back pain inducing crouch(not improved high speed ergonomics from installing superbike bars with rear-sets). That's enough from number 7.
 

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I guess I didn't realize the forum is made up of 6 people and thought I could get some genuine feedback.

You were a teensy- tiny bit dishonest about your previous participation which is why you are going to get a little shit for it. Toughen up butter cup.

Still if you want genuine feedback here it is.

Mechanical:
- General Platform: Ever hear the old expression "when your first step is a stumble it's much harder to regain your balance"? Well that is what you did here. You started with the largely incorrect assumption that any bike can be a "performance" motorcycle, or the equally incorrect assumption that cafe racers are like choppers but a different shape. Whatever the motivation you started with a platform that less than ideal for a genuine performance vintage motorcycle. I get that it was free and all, and we are not saying that it couldn't be a cool custom bike - just that you are setting yourself up for failure in trying to make a racer that delivered any authentic riding experience. C-

- suspension modifications: notwithstanding that you were starting from a disadvantage with an LTD platform, the only suspension modification you made were to lower the bike. You have decreased the handling and performance of the motorcycle. Additionally you did it in the front by just pushing the forks a somewhat unreasonable amount through the trees. The only reason this is not an F is that you didn't use cheap Chinese shocks off ebay and you probably didn't modify the fork internals. D

- Wheels, brakes, tires: no mods to the brakes so meh, the tires are over-sized and also not a performance brand. Again you have ruined the handling. But at least they are new. C

- Protection: You have no fenders. Period. On top of that you have an aggressive dirt tread tire flinging dirt at cheap shitty emgo pods that don't really filter anything (and are stealing HP out of your engine). F.

- Parts selection: aside from the tires which are probably pretty expensive, all your parts choices are cheap. It is obvious you picked them because of their price point and not because of what they add to the bike. Other than the emgo pods which are literally garbage, I don't see anything that is so cheap as to be dangerous so C+ but only because you got lucky.

- Ergonomics: clubman bars with stock pegs. You don't understand motorcycle rider dynamics and you aren't even listening to your body when it tells you something is wrong by giving you mild soreness or pain (Spend an hour in the seat riding it at low speeds and then tell me how them wrists and lower back feel). F.

- Lighting: one of the biggest things motorcyclists complain about is visibility. I don't see any turn signals. I don't even think I can spot the taillight. Also you have that stupid tape across the headlight. F.


Personal:

This is the subjective stuff, not everybody like metal flake or pinstriping, nor do I like some of the more "cafe racer" cliches. Although all this is personal opinion, this is less important than the above stuff since there is no safety component here.

- Chiche: Is there a manual that tells you newbies what garbage cliche's you need to attach to your bike to be considered a "racer"? Taped headlight, raw metal tank, emgo pods, CRG imposter mirror that doesn't actually do anything, I mean you hit most. I am going to be generous here because you didn't buy garbage Chinese piggy back shocks and you didn't put any header wrap on. C+

- Paint and finish: the black looks nice. At least the parts you painted black. and you polished the engine covers. That's about all I have to say that is nice about this. The teal scalloped over black paint was way better than your raw metal tank - but you would have to know about hot rods and american car culture to understand that. I personally hate raw steel anything on bikes these days because 1) steel is not exotic nor is it visually interesting, 2) it's lazy. But at least it isn't rusty so overall B


So now that you understand where all the mistakes are and where you went off the rails, are you going to fix any of this? or just assume we are all assholes who don't know what we are talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You were a teensy- tiny bit dishonest about your previous participation which is why you are going to get a little shit for it. Toughen up butter cup.

Still if you want genuine feedback here it is.

Mechanical:
- General Platform: Ever hear the old expression "when your first step is a stumble it's much harder to regain your balance"? Well that is what you did here. You started with the largely incorrect assumption that any bike can be a "performance" motorcycle, or the equally incorrect assumption that cafe racers are like choppers but a different shape. Whatever the motivation you started with a platform that less than ideal for a genuine performance vintage motorcycle. I get that it was free and all, and we are not saying that it couldn't be a cool custom bike - just that you are setting yourself up for failure in trying to make a racer that delivered any authentic riding experience. C-

- suspension modifications: notwithstanding that you were starting from a disadvantage with an LTD platform, the only suspension modification you made were to lower the bike. You have decreased the handling and performance of the motorcycle. Additionally you did it in the front by just pushing the forks a somewhat unreasonable amount through the trees. The only reason this is not an F is that you didn't use cheap Chinese shocks off ebay and you probably didn't modify the fork internals. D

- Wheels, brakes, tires: no mods to the brakes so meh, the tires are over-sized and also not a performance brand. Again you have ruined the handling. But at least they are new. C

- Protection: You have no fenders. Period. On top of that you have an aggressive dirt tread tire flinging dirt at cheap shitty emgo pods that don't really filter anything (and are stealing HP out of your engine). F.

- Parts selection: aside from the tires which are probably pretty expensive, all your parts choices are cheap. It is obvious you picked them because of their price point and not because of what they add to the bike. Other than the emgo pods which are literally garbage, I don't see anything that is so cheap as to be dangerous so C+ but only because you got lucky.

- Ergonomics: clubman bars with stock pegs. You don't understand motorcycle rider dynamics and you aren't even listening to your body when it tells you something is wrong by giving you mild soreness or pain (Spend an hour in the seat riding it at low speeds and then tell me how them wrists and lower back feel). F.

- Lighting: one of the biggest things motorcyclists complain about is visibility. I don't see any turn signals. I don't even think I can spot the taillight. Also you have that stupid tape across the headlight. F.


Personal:

This is the subjective stuff, not everybody like metal flake or pinstriping, nor do I like some of the more "cafe racer" cliches. Although all this is personal opinion, this is less important than the above stuff since there is no safety component here.

- Chiche: Is there a manual that tells you newbies what garbage cliche's you need to attach to your bike to be considered a "racer"? Taped headlight, raw metal tank, emgo pods, CRG imposter mirror that doesn't actually do anything, I mean you hit most. I am going to be generous here because you didn't buy garbage Chinese piggy back shocks and you didn't put any header wrap on. C+

- Paint and finish: the black looks nice. At least the parts you painted black. and you polished the engine covers. That's about all I have to say that is nice about this. The teal scalloped over black paint was way better than your raw metal tank - but you would have to know about hot rods and american car culture to understand that. I personally hate raw steel anything on bikes these days because 1) steel is not exotic nor is it visually interesting, 2) it's lazy. But at least it isn't rusty so overall B


So now that you understand where all the mistakes are and where you went off the rails, are you going to fix any of this? or just assume we are all assholes who don't know what we are talking about?

Thanks for your response Geeto. I really appreciate your feedback. As I mentioned when I first posted, the bike is not finished hence the " ".

There are a few things like adding fenders, finding real air filters, etc that I am still in the process of doing, which is why I thought I would post here to get some feedback. I guess I should have prefaced the post by mentioning that the goal of this bike (which was given to me) was to make it into something that I personally thought would look better than the stock LTD (which I wouldn't want to be seen cruising on) and not turn it into a high performance racing machine. I was/am going through a rough time and focused all my energy on working on this bike, making it into something I can just cruise around on.

The tape on the headlight is something I thought looked cool - so I went with it.

Suspension: I didn't lower the suspension, I have yet to adjust it at all, I simply painted the springs and re-installed them.

Obviously, this is not a performance machine. It may be my fault for posting without prefacing that - but is this how you normally treat newbies? Cause ya'll were kinda acting like assholes. Assholes who know what your talking about, but still assholes.

Like I said - I'm new to this and didn't expect the wave of passive aggressive comments. The irony in your post is your signature quote "Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better".
 

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The problem is just terminology. You have built a custom motorcycle like some you have seen on the interwebs, in magazines and on TV. It needs a name since there are so many like it now. The name isn't Cafe Racer.
 

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A good solid introduction usually clears up some mis-understandings or mis-communications. Don't be afraid to write a lot, people here will read it. It is when you post very little that people make assumptions.

but I see there are still some things you are confused about. Let's address them shall we?

mentioning that the goal of this bike (which was given to me) was to make it into something that I personally thought would look better than the stock LTD (which I wouldn't want to be seen cruising on) and not turn it into a high performance racing machine.
This is a chopper. You want a chopper. The only requirement of a chopper is that it look cool, It doesn't even have to function well. Not everything in the motorcycle universe is about looking cool. People don't build adventure bikes to look cool at starbucks - they build them to climb mountains. Same here - the underlying ethos is to improve the bike and make it perform better. It does not have to be a racing machine, but it should work better than stock. That is the part you are missing, and your choices reflect that.

The tape on the headlight is something I thought looked cool - so I went with it.
Once upon a time production racing was literally people racing the stock street bikes they rode every day. the tape on the headlight was to keep shattered glass from littering the track if you crashed. However, most racing organizations started requiring you to fully tape the light starting in the 1970's. Now the only people who do it are people trying to buy into a lifestyle and don't really understand the origin - so it gets made fun. Seriously though, on the road it does affect your beam so it probably just isn't a good idea.

Suspension: I didn't lower the suspension, I have yet to adjust it at all, I simply painted the springs and re-installed them.
you slid the forks up in the triple trees. that is lowering the suspension. what's worse is that you may have opened yourself up to the potential of the tire hitting the bottom of the tree when it bottoms out, did you check for that?

Obviously, this is not a performance machine.
Yes but why not? It could be.

It may be my fault for posting without prefacing that - but is this how you normally treat newbies?
yes. you would have seen that if you are actually a lurker. Part of it comes from new people who read too many magazines, too much bike exif, and watch too much cafe racer TV and then show up and assume that what is valued is the defective lifestyle that was fed to them while trying to sell them merchandise. It takes a little tough love to snap them out of this dreamy ideal. The thing is, your bike can go from awful to stellar without looking too much different, but riding it will be night and day.

Cause ya'll were kinda acting like assholes. Assholes who know what your talking about, but still assholes.
The world of motorcycles is filled with colorful people. Lots of characters, it's part of what makes it interesting. The help is there if you want it but you have to take the good with the bad to get it. Remember, nobody is here to serve you and your interests - you are not entitled to help, fortunately most motorcyclists not only want to help but they want you to find something lasting in the hobby, and we all have opinions about that and you are going to get to hear them, that's the cost of free advice.

Like I said - I'm new to this and didn't expect the wave of passive aggressive comments. The irony in your post is your signature quote "Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better".
It is not an ironic signature. You should not be afraid of failure, failure is how you grow. But in order to grow you a) have to know you failed, b) how you failed, c) follow up on how to succeed. I have given you some honest feedback - it is up to you to ask the next questions. Want to know how emgo pods steal HP out of your engine? ask. Want to know why your low bars with stock pegs is bad ergonomics? ask. people here will answer. Unfortunately we don't applaud failure, but we can help fix it.
 

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Just cut out and attach 2 -2"by 8"by14" Styrofoam in place of floorboards one you'll have a failing boat anchor... But on the positive side, oh, sorry, couldn't think of any.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
A good solid introduction usually clears up some mis-understandings or mis-communications. Don't be afraid to write a lot, people here will read it. It is when you post very little that people make assumptions.

but I see there are still some things you are confused about. Let's address them shall we?


This is a chopper. You want a chopper. The only requirement of a chopper is that it look cool, It doesn't even have to function well. Not everything in the motorcycle universe is about looking cool. People don't build adventure bikes to look cool at starbucks - they build them to climb mountains. Same here - the underlying ethos is to improve the bike and make it perform better. It does not have to be a racing machine, but it should work better than stock. That is the part you are missing, and your choices reflect that.

Once upon a time production racing was literally people racing the stock street bikes they rode every day. the tape on the headlight was to keep shattered glass from littering the track if you crashed. However, most racing organizations started requiring you to fully tape the light starting in the 1970's. Now the only people who do it are people trying to buy into a lifestyle and don't really understand the origin - so it gets made fun. Seriously though, on the road it does affect your beam so it probably just isn't a good idea.



you slid the forks up in the triple trees. that is lowering the suspension. what's worse is that you may have opened yourself up to the potential of the tire hitting the bottom of the tree when it bottoms out, did you check for that?


Yes but why not? It could be.


yes. you would have seen that if you are actually a lurker. Part of it comes from new people who read too many magazines, too much bike exif, and watch too much cafe racer TV and then show up and assume that what is valued is the defective lifestyle that was fed to them while trying to sell them merchandise. It takes a little tough love to snap them out of this dreamy ideal. The thing is, your bike can go from awful to stellar without looking too much different, but riding it will be night and day.


The world of motorcycles is filled with colorful people. Lots of characters, it's part of what makes it interesting. The help is there if you want it but you have to take the good with the bad to get it. Remember, nobody is here to serve you and your interests - you are not entitled to help, fortunately most motorcyclists not only want to help but they want you to find something lasting in the hobby, and we all have opinions about that and you are going to get to hear them, that's the cost of free advice.



It is not an ironic signature. You should not be afraid of failure, failure is how you grow. But in order to grow you a) have to know you failed, b) how you failed, c) follow up on how to succeed. I have given you some honest feedback - it is up to you to ask the next questions. Want to know how emgo pods steal HP out of your engine? ask. Want to know why your low bars with stock pegs is bad ergonomics? ask. people here will answer. Unfortunately we don't applaud failure, but we can help fix it.
Cheers, Geeto. Now that I know what's been critiqued, I can make steps to improve. Appreciate your comments.
 
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