Cafe Racer Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I just discovered cafe racers about 2 days ago and now I want one bad. I was wondering if you guys could give me some tips on what to search for, or what would be a good starter bike.

Heres a little info about me:
-I live in fairfax, virginia
-I am somewhat mecahnically inclined (cars not bikes)
-I am looking for something that runs but doesnt necessarily has to be 100% complete. I like the idea of customizing it myself and adding a personal touch.

Any tips would be great. Also I keep seeing bikes with 'carb problems' how much would that cost to fix or replace?

Thanks Alot!! Alex.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
hey there, glad you are finding an interest in these bikes. if i were you i'd spend a whole lot of time doing the research up front about getting into building one of your own beforehand. at least 5 days anyway.

carb problems would probably affect 99% of these bikes because they were manufactured back when Ronald Reagan was still governing California. old carbs have dried out gaskets, munged up jets and throttle slides, and sometimes the float bowls are welled up with the gelatinous tears of the baby jesus. yes, old, un-rebuilt carbs make the baby jesus cry™

...or the carb problems can stem from someone's hasty 'cafe restoration' job: they emphasized looks and decided to go with a 4-1 exhaust and pod filters without tuning the carburetion, and now their bitchin bike runs like total crap, and it wont run any better with the bobbed seatpan, clubmans or "59" decal, either! guess what? badly tuned carbs make the baby jesus cry™.

...as far as cost to attend to weeping jesus carbs, well, best bet is to put your mechanical inclination to some use, find a manual, get a rebuild kit, one of those gallon cans of carburetor cleaning fluid with the immersion basket at Napa, and go for it. DIY For The Win!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Best advice I can say is do some looking around on boards like this and find the make/model of bike you want to purchase. Then look for a good running example of that bike to buy. I always feel it is better to buy a stock/well running bike to start off with, then some "allready done" thing that someone has had their hand in..

My two cents..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
What kind of bikes do you suggest? I want something not too old, but that has the look. It would be nice if the bike has parts that are easy to find also. Thanks for your input again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,284 Posts
dude you have to give us way more info than that.....seriously.

Honestly if you want something newer go buy a thruxton or at least a couple years old new bonnie. You can also try and find a w650 from the early 2000s. Ducati sport classics are also a good choice. Not really cafe racers but they are newer bikes that have the look. I love my sport 1000 ducati and I paid around $9K out the door.

If you want older then there are several schools of thought. A lot of people think that a proper cafe racer is british. Vintage brit bikes however come with a hefty price and are not the most reliable things.

I personal prefer japanese bikes from the 1970s. Any of the major superbikes qualify (550cc - 1000cc GS, CB, KZ, XS) as well as some of the smaller bikes (cb350, cb450, etc).

are you looking for a project or do you just want to buy and ride?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I was thinking about going with an older japanese bike. Like the ones you have listed. I want it to have some getup to it, but it doesnt have to be really fast. Just enough to get around.

Also, I would like the bike to be in good running condition, so it can be somewhat of a project in terms of style. I dont want to dump money into a bike getting it to run. I want to put my money into making it unique.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Sounds like a 1980s CB,GS or KZ of 500-750CC would be a good fit for what you are wanting.
They are all reliable as the day is long,easy to get new and used parts for,easy to upgrade with better components,comfortable to ride,quicker than just about any car out there and can be built in many different styles to suit your needs.

The U.J.M.s of the 1980's are a blank canvas!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
hey alex,

my best advice...look into any old small displacement (under 500cc) jap bike that already runs, but maybe needs some light TLC (tires, rust, etc). I've seen (and bought) really good runners that looked ugly as shit for under 200 bucks. also WATCH OUT for bikes that have "carb problems" because alot of times they can mask other more serious problems, but you can use your best judgement in those cases. my preference for cheap bikes are like 78-83 hondas....they are dirt cheap and seem to run forever...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,284 Posts
I always recommend SOHC cb750s. Parts are plentiful, the motors are anvils, the bike boogies. The only problem is they are not as cheap as they used to be. I use a 1975 one to commute with just about everyday so I can't say they are not reliable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,780 Posts
I have been thinking about this and have come to the conclusion that converting a 2 stroke single enduro bike may be the best way to go. Stripped down to its basics, it should be a great place to start. Look at what is being done here with the TS185 and the Hodaka. It is inspiring and cheap.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Get yourself a Yamaha XS650. They're plentiful, and it isn't hard to find ones in need of some work for a few hundred bucks or less. The most desirable ones are the 77-79 standards, but they all lend themselves well to cafe customization. Parts availability is great. Lots of go-fast stuff available for them, too (at least for the 74 and later bikes with the 447 motors). Just about infinitely customizable. Google "xs650 cafe" and see for yourself.

Best,

Michael
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top