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Discussion Starter #1
Name's Jeremy. I'm completely new to the world of bikes, let alone cafe racers - but I'm anxious to learn. Picked up my first bike about a month ago and I'm already anxious to move on to the next one. I picked up a 99' Suzuki GZ250 for cheap to learn the ropes on - I was told it was a good ride to start out on. In retrospect, I wish I would have held out for a standard, since I've got my eye on a Bonneville or Thruxton in the near future.

In just the short while I've been researching and exploring the world of motorcycles, I've found myself drawn to cafe racers. I have no real experience modding a bike at all - don't even really have the proper tools for it yet. But I'm anxious to get started. I've got some time before I'm going to be able to get my next bike - I'm sure I'll be digging through these forums for all the tips I can find.

My first question is this:
I'm torn between the Bonneville and the Thruxton. I love the cafe racer style of the Thruxton, but I really want a two seater to cart my better half and kids around. So would I be better off picking up a Bonnie and modifying it slightly (bars, rear-pegs, etc) to the cafe look. Or would I be better off picking up a Thruxton and modifying the seat for two?

I've toyed with the idea of just picking up a cheap bike and attempting to rebuild it to my liking, but I think I might hold off on that endeavor until after I have a reliable bike that I've learned the ins and outs of in my garage for daily use.

I'm also open to the notion that I'm thinking about this all wrong. I welcome your input.

Jeremy
 

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Welcome fellow west michigan person. The general sentiment will be to buy a rider. Something you could drive home. Ride it for a year or so while you build up tools and experience. Sounds like you have something you can ride?
 

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but I think I might hold off on that endeavor until after I have a reliable bike that I've learned the ins and outs of in my garage for daily use.
This is the smartest thing any newbie has ever said. ever.


you do know the tail cowl comes off on a thruxton and there is a seat underneath, right?

don't put your kids on your bike till you have had years of riding experence. not months. years. as in more than two.

I hate that they switched from clipons to clubmans on the thruxton....apparently it wasn't douchebaggy enough so they had to put shitty parts on it. that's all I have to contribute.....if you buy a thruxton buy a used one with clipons on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I didn't know that about the tail cowl on the Thruxton. That makes the decision a little easier. And I think I prefer the clipons over the clubmans anyway, so even if I bought new, I'd probably switch them out.

And my kids are currently 1 and 2 years old. So I'll have plenty of miles under my belt before they're even close to old enough to hop on the back. Thanks for the caution though. Scary to think what some over-confident idiot could do to his poor kids.
 

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If you are new to motorcycles and don't know much about working on them, a Thruxton is a great choice. Get it and ride the heck out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well.. I've changed my mind. I've decided I'd rather not drop thousands on a Triumph - even though I know it'd be a great ride.

I've got my eye on a '76 CB550F that's already road-ready. Really love the aesthetic of the bike and the fact that it really doesn't need a ton of modification.

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Discussion Starter #9
Agreed on the bars. Seller is including another set of bars (not sure what they are) and another set of side covers and matching gas tank.

He's asking $1,000 for it. Seems reasonable to me.
 

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If it has a title (or some other form of ownership papers - bill of sale does not count) and runs, then it looks like a good deal. Betcha it runs like shit with those pod filters though.

Buy a superbike bar and a stock airbox and you are in business. Spend the next year keeping it on the road.
 

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Geeto, why is a title worth so much money on every bike for sale no matter where it is?
 

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Some states if you don't have a title it is nearly impossible or very expensive to get one. in NY if you don't have a title and own a 1973 or newer vehicle you are shit out of luck for getting one. Pre 1971 it is a breeze because everything is transferrable registration. In Louisiana I remember no title meant you could never register it, no exceptions. In VT you don't even need to be a citizen of the state to get a transferrable registration if the vehicle is 15 years old, and I hear in your home state of georgia it is fairly easy as well with transferrable registrations (not sure of the years). I hear in MI and OH you can do bonded titles but those cost several hundred dollars, and while you get it back at the end who wants to tie up $300 for a year or two?

even in states where you aren't boned without a title, it is still kind of a hassle. most noobs aren't smart enough always to understand how easy and cheaper it makes having a title (plus you don't risk buying a stolen bike). it's actually very hard to forge a title so most people don't bother. It is basically like a guarantee you can use the bike immediatly. In NY if you have a title you get plates the same day you register it, in OH I think registraton is a two day process, without a title it is a week to setup a bonded title.
 

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I've only ever bought one bike without a title and it was a pita to get it "legal" to ride. I had to get a po box setup in Maine, registre it there (because sans title it wasn't allowed in VA) and then i had to pay a company lots of money to register it on my behalf in Maine. They still charge me to re-register it every year. Would've been much easier and cheaper to find a bike with a title in the end.
 

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So it really depends on where you are trying to register on whether a title is needed or not. I would use not having a title as a bargaining tool when purchasing but it don't mean jack to me when I go to register it. My XR hasn't been registered since 1977. When it come time (if ever) I will just write my own bill of sale and go to the local redneck DMV and register it for about $20. There's no inspection or anything here.
 

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Here is my cut and paste for Illinois when someone asks if a title is necessary:
Thinking of buying a vintage motorcycle that does not come with a clean, clear title ? It's easy as 1...2...3..... to get one !

Step one:
Have your local Police run the vin# to ensure it's not stolen ( if the engine vin is different from the frame, run BOTH vin #'s).
Make sure you get a signed, notarized bill of sale from the seller. Make sure you pay very little for a bike that does not come with a clear title.

Step two:
Make sure everything is in order with the bike to pass the Illinois Secretary of State's Police safety inspection ( yes, there is such a thing and yes, you have to have this done before the title application) This state will charge you $94 for the inspection . The tires, suspension, , lights, turn signals, horn, brakes etc. etc. all must work and be in good, safe condition to pass.

Step three:
Obtain a title court bond ( or approved certified independent bond ). This bond will be 1.5 times the value the STATE determines for the bike. If they say the bike is worth $1000, the bond you put up would be $1500 cash. ( even if the bike cost you only $50, you have to go with the value the state determines ) The state sits on the bond for THREE years pending any claims, liens, security interests, etc. etc. etc. ( read the detail in Illinois Compiled Statutes 625 ILCS 5 Illinois Vehicle Code. Section 3-109)

Step Three continued:
Pay DMV $95 for your title application plus $39 for plates and registration.

If all goes well, you will get your bond money back in three years and you will have a clean title and registration for your bike! ( yes, in three years ) The state will not automatically return your money, you need to request this in writing or they just keep it.


OR- you should have just bought a bike with a clean, clear title in the first place because the state makes it horribly cost prohibitive and time consuming to get one.
 

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Remind me to never move to Ill. Is a title required to register a bike? It isn't here so gives a f**k if it has a title or not. You can't get a title on a bike here if you didn't have one transferred to your name but it doesn't prevent you from owning the bike.
 

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yes a title is required in most states to register a vehicle. In Georgia, try to register a NEW or late model bike without a title and see how far you get. I think GA doesn't require a title for vehicles 15 years old or older.

NY is worse because at least Illinois has a bonded title process. If your 1977 harley was in NY and you didn't have a title, you would be boned.

There are processes for getting titles to vehicles if you are a shop or business, such as a mechanic's lien. In NY it was $350 to do it and you still had to give the previous owner of record a chance to pay off the debt (it takes like 6 months). I don't know how Ohio does it yet, but I have heard there is something similar.
 

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I get my titles from Lee in Utah. I tell him what bike (brand/model/year)I need it for. he sends the title (in my name) along w/ the headstock (or frame). old bikes, ebay/CL, bikes get torn apart , put back together, chopped, cafe'd racer'd. its all confusing officer , "this is how it was when I bought it from a fellow on CL". I took this engine and put it w/ this frame, etc. etc. etc. you have your licence? insurance? reg matches lic. plate ? your good to go, drive safe. thanks officer and have a good day.
 

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You might also want to think about getting a silencer that actually works or your missus won't be happy with you waking the babies up everytime you pull up on the drive.
 

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Remind me to never move to Ill. Is a title required to register a bike? It isn't here so gives a f**k if it has a title or not. You can't get a title on a bike here if you didn't have one transferred to your name but it doesn't prevent you from owning the bike.
You need a title to register and plate bikes here in Illinois .....
 
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