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I'm David Davis 25 yr old, just about to buy my first motorcycle, hopefully I'll be picking it up this weekend...
I'm looking at a 1982 KZ440 to tear down and create my own Cafe bike.

I've always liked the naked design of Cafe Racers. I have close to no experience with motorcycles,
but am a very quick learner and have always tinkered with all sorts of things.
I've been doing a lot of research, and I think I finally have some sort of idea of what I'm going to be doing with this project.

I'm sure I'll be asking tons of questions, and any help would be much appreciated.

For now, this is my bike... (which I also custom built myself)


 

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Making a cafe from a kz440 is not done very easily.

However, I think they are great bikes. I ride the one I built my friend like a maniac. I catch maybe two feet of air on speed bumps at 50mph.
 

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Making a cafe from a kz440 is not done very easily.

However, I think they are great bikes. I ride the one I built my friend like a maniac. I catch maybe two feet of air on speed bumps at 50mph.
 

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for your first bike - get something that is newish, reliable, and well maintained. Learn to ride motorbikes. Spend a year doing it. After that re-evaluate your goals of wanting a cafe bike.

if done right, a cafe bike is not a beginners bike, the handling is twitchy and unforgiving and the riding position promotes bad riding habits.

I personally don't like the kz440, not because it is a bad bike, but because it is heavy and all of them are that awful LTD model (some with 16" rear wheel). Lot of work to just get it to the handling prowess of the less powerful kz400. Also no aftermarket for them making it a real custom deal as in you will need to make everything fit, nothing just bolts on.
 

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for your first bike - get something that is newish, reliable, and well maintained. Learn to ride motorbikes. Spend a year doing it. After that re-evaluate your goals of wanting a cafe bike.

if done right, a cafe bike is not a beginners bike, the handling is twitchy and unforgiving and the riding position promotes bad riding habits.

I personally don't like the kz440, not because it is a bad bike, but because it is heavy and all of them are that awful LTD model (some with 16" rear wheel). Lot of work to just get it to the handling prowess of the less powerful kz400. Also no aftermarket for them making it a real custom deal as in you will need to make everything fit, nothing just bolts on.
 

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Thats why you cut everything off instead of bolting shit on. :)

Again, terrible candidate for a cafe, though.
 

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Thats why you cut everything off instead of bolting shit on. :)

Again, terrible candidate for a cafe, though.
 

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Also, not sure how less than 390lbs dry is 'heavy'.

Granted, its 50lbs more than a cb350, but the 440 makes quite a bit more power everywhere.
 

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Also, not sure how less than 390lbs dry is 'heavy'.

Granted, its 50lbs more than a cb350, but the 440 makes quite a bit more power everywhere.
 

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Either bike is usually going to be so abused by the time you get it neither makes a good beginner mount. Plus the Kz has a heavy rearward weight bias.

Get like a gs500e from the 90s. Cheap, durable, parts are still available, sporting, and you won't feel like the bug on the next semi's windshield.
 

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Either bike is usually going to be so abused by the time you get it neither makes a good beginner mount. Plus the Kz has a heavy rearward weight bias.

Get like a gs500e from the 90s. Cheap, durable, parts are still available, sporting, and you won't feel like the bug on the next semi's windshield.
 

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Do believe theres a racing class in some clubs for the gs500.
No weight at all at the back end of the 440 I built.
 

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Do believe theres a racing class in some clubs for the gs500.
No weight at all at the back end of the 440 I built.
 

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Do believe theres a racing class in some clubs for the gs500.
No weight at all at the back end of the 440 I built.
 

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Do believe theres a racing class in some clubs for the gs500.
No weight at all at the back end of the 440 I built.
 

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Heavens... I just read OP's profile (which he filled out acceptably?).

Bicyclist, climber (perhaps)... not exactly the demographic.
I myself am a borderline alcoholic, shiftlessly unemployed divorced father of three, and my main source of exercise is a trip to the 'Fridge every 20min or so. Your bicycle has lots of bright green on it. Catboy is a bicycle fag, so you won't be entirely on your own. However, domesticity & a sweet girl has made him a little fat...

I own (or perhaps, owned) a KZ440 (oh... what a long story), only because it happened upon me for free. Plans were to get it running, sell it & reinvest on something worthwhile. GS500 is an excellent idea... always liked them. I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and suggest a Seca II... a brother had one, and it struck me at the time roughly as a Bonneville with good manners, which one could count on to run & start when required to do so. At any rate, same size, weight, displacement as a GS500 with 1/4 fairing. I have no idea what they sell for these days. Just listen to Geet, and look for a GS.

Also, you won't be accepted if you don't like pie. Several have been scared off recently. Be the man, buy a shirt ("Who Likes Pie" thread), and suffer the slings & arrows. Nobody likes a sissy here. You're allowed to be stupid, as long as you listen, and pay attention to the advice given. There's a thread ongoing in the project build section... KZ650, perhaps? You should take a look & learn how not to behave.

25yrs old means you could/should be a college grad. Are you? Degree? M/C license? MSF course?

St. Louis was my very favorite stop on my 2 week road trip home from Ft. Hood... Laclede's landing... good music.


Oh... buy a shirt. You like pie.
 

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Heavens... I just read OP's profile (which he filled out acceptably?).

Bicyclist, climber (perhaps)... not exactly the demographic.
I myself am a borderline alcoholic, shiftlessly unemployed divorced father of three, and my main source of exercise is a trip to the 'Fridge every 20min or so. Your bicycle has lots of bright green on it. Catboy is a bicycle fag, so you won't be entirely on your own. However, domesticity & a sweet girl has made him a little fat...

I own (or perhaps, owned) a KZ440 (oh... what a long story), only because it happened upon me for free. Plans were to get it running, sell it & reinvest on something worthwhile. GS500 is an excellent idea... always liked them. I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and suggest a Seca II... a brother had one, and it struck me at the time roughly as a Bonneville with good manners, which one could count on to run & start when required to do so. At any rate, same size, weight, displacement as a GS500 with 1/4 fairing. I have no idea what they sell for these days. Just listen to Geet, and look for a GS.

Also, you won't be accepted if you don't like pie. Several have been scared off recently. Be the man, buy a shirt ("Who Likes Pie" thread), and suffer the slings & arrows. Nobody likes a sissy here. You're allowed to be stupid, as long as you listen, and pay attention to the advice given. There's a thread ongoing in the project build section... KZ650, perhaps? You should take a look & learn how not to behave.

25yrs old means you could/should be a college grad. Are you? Degree? M/C license? MSF course?

St. Louis was my very favorite stop on my 2 week road trip home from Ft. Hood... Laclede's landing... good music.


Oh... buy a shirt. You like pie.
 

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Fantastic post, Jude. One of my faves of all time.

But, which seca are you talking about?


And, lets hear the 440 story.
 
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