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Newbie in need of help

2261 Views 17 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  brad black
So I've been eyeing building a cafe racer for a long while but haven't ever had the means to do so. Until now. That being said, even after reading all of the online posts and guides and DIY tips and tricks, I'm not quite sure where to start. Personally not much of a mechanic (little to no experience besides basic car maintenance), but I have several family members willing to help me out. I will go through my thought process and what I have to now, and if anyone has any wisdom or advice they want to share, please feel free.

First things first:
1983 Suzuki GS850
This is the bike I am looking at getting.
Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Automotive tire

Not much to look at, but hopefully that will change. The guy I'm buying from says he put in a new ignition switch, air filters, and motor & gear oil, but the carbs need to be adjusted. Good news is that one of those family members I mentioned earlier can do carbs pretty easily. All the lights work, which hopefully means no electrical problems. My thought is that if I can get it running, then cleanup and cosmetics can come later.
What are some common problems

As for cosmetics, I am looking to build a classic looking cafe racer with the brat seat and the minimalist look.
Where can I look for parts and what parts really give the bike the "cafe racer" look?
I know you've got the clip on handlebars and the brat seat, but what else is essential for the look? Should I invest in a new tank, headlights, electronics cluster? Really just looking for guidance from someone that knows more than I do.

Hopefully, as I start the process I can document everything and upload for other newbies like me.
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as above, its a cruiser, a shaft drive and 4 of most things to go wrong. probably only 2 of the ignition stuff.

you can make it into anything, and you can do it to that turd just to prove us wrong. like everyone else tries to. it'll still be a turd.
my post was in reference to the motorcycle in question, and turning that into what he has in his head. i can't imagine the gs850l has the same frame as the gs850g, but the g is much more the basis for what this guy is looking for. the l has a frame that dips down at the rear to the shock mounts instead of the straight top rail his mind is envisaging. allegedly the g and l share the 19/17 wheel combo, but again what the op is after in his mind is something with 18 at each end. and the forks are too long, and he'll shorten them badly (as if anyone does it well) and at the end of it he'll have a bike that has sucked up a heap of money simply because it wasn't a good starting point. and it will show - well, to anyone who knows what they're looking at. and he'll possibly come to realise that he's put a heap of work and money into a bad starting point, and that feeling sucks.

offset of course by the fact that all the good starting points are much more expensive and that initial purchase price is the big kicker.
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it sounds very linear in its power delivery for a two stroke with chambers.
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