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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

My name is Alex. I just wanted to say hi and introduce myself. I love motors, wheels, and mechanical shtuff. I ride dirt bikes mostly. I have done a full frame up restoration on a '73 Honda XL250. It was a fantastic project that turned out well and I learned a lot. I'm late getting into motorcycles, now 39 years old. It's been a few years now, though, that I've liked (loved, actually) the style and draw of the cafe racer bikes. To be honest though, since I was new to bikes, I didn't even know what they were called. Admittedly, I ran across a probably well known tv show and that's where I was introduced to the name and a little bit about cafe racers. I know of nobody who owns one but I am determined to build one. Fear not, I have read the beginner sticky and the FAQs. I won't ask any of those questions. I know how to search for info and will set out on that first :) I'm excited to begin on this project and I felt that this would be a good first step, admitting I have a cafe racer addiction ;) If anyone wasn't bored to tears by my introduction and is still reading, I'd gladly take ANY tips or pointers. I'm excited, this is gonna be fun!!
 

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I don't know if being in S.E. Idaho is like being in S.W. Texas, but there aren't a lot of good deals around here.

Good thing there is the internet.

Being that you have done a restoration already, you are miles ahead.
 

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Hello.
funny the TV show got you here, as the website links you to another forum.

take a look around, we are fairly blunt a out that show, and that spectrum of the hobby in general.

best pointer I have is forget any notion of a build. That is a chopper way of thinking about things.
instead focus on finding a type of bike you want, two stroke, single, superbike, vintage or what ever.
the base you buy should have some inherent performance, so a honda hawk doesn't work.
service the shit out of it, then ride the wheels off it. Over time you will find weak links.
form a plan to change those weak links in a meaningful way.
over time "the look" just kinda happens.

the show spends to much time talking about a time that never was and looking at this BS "style"
it atracts a certain type.
If that aspect of the hobby is your main focus, you might find us little help. Other then directing you to a better site...

what at have you seen that you liked?
why do you like it?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies! I'm sure "build" was a naive term for me to use but I didn't know what other word to use. Maybe "modify" or "tweak"? Yes, I'm inline with the thinking I've found on here. I plan to find a running or near running bike and just ride it and get to know it. I wanna see what performance mods I can apply to it so as to enhance my riding experience. What do I like about cafe racers? Why do I want one? I'm an individual. I want a bike that nobody else has. I find the "style" that was born from the function before fashion movement inspiring. I like the aggressive stance the rider takes while saddled on the bike. I don't want a scooter sized bike where I'm really just leaning over the fuel tank. I want a simple and airy design that breathes a lighter bike but doesn't skimp on fun. Finally I want to encorporate modern technology while keeping the bike's vintage roots. Definitely want to avoid the look of taking an '80s Beemer and putting a lame loud exhaust on it and calling it "sick". As was mentioned in the first reply, yes, Idaho isn't a notorious bike state but oh well. The internet can take me anywhere and I'm not in a rush. I can take my time to search and drive. So, no Honda Hawks eh? Any suggestions for a good platform now that I tried, poorly in sure, to describe what im after. If this is not the website for my ideas, then I'm open to suggestions as to where I should look.
 

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Easy on the sales pitch, we aren't buying t shirts here.
there is zero style, no expression or other BS.
just meaningful improvements to vintage bikes.

what type of riding do you plan on doing?
what have you seen that you liked?
if this is just going to be you posting a picture of a bike you think is nice to look at then you might not get on well here.
i am talking about a bike you saw out on the road, or something you saw people doing on a motorcycle you want to get involved in.
 

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Go get a stock 250-500cc 80's bike and ride it for a while. A GS500E, for example.

The current "Buildr" fashion fad is total bullshit.

"Danger is my business"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmm, not sure what to say. How bout, I'm not selling anything. Way to piss on someone's enthus to do someone that to him is unique. I really don't care if you like my idea of what I want my bike to be. Maybe reread my posts and you'll see that I said I'm new to motorcycles in general and nobody around here has anything close to what I want. I saw on tv a concept, an idea. I don't care if I don't speak the lingo and who cares if one person likes style and others think it's a crock. I don't care if you agree with a certain tv show or not. Perhaps did you consider that I have tried to research the best I can by looking on the Internet? After all , that's how I found this site. It's not like Feburary in Idaho is an ideal time to ride around to see what bikes people are riding. Acting tough on an Internet forum and bragging how people probably won't like what you say may make you feel tough but in the end all you have done is masterbated your ego, congrats. Now, the last post did offer some help. No, I'm not asking for you to tell me what to do. Suggesting a good bike to begin with really isn't too hard now is it. Building, transforming, modding, tweaking, whatever you wanna call it... I can do. I do know which way to turn a socket. It seems most on here are more preoccupied with dissuading someone from enjoying and learning about their hobby than actually passing on helpful thoughts. It's ok, I'm a big boy and can filter out the useless crap.
 

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Take a deep breathe.

The regular guys here give great advice. REAL ADVICE based on decades of old sport bike experience, for free like.

You will get more valuable advice and useful suggestions here in two hours of reading this site than years on the joke builder websites.

You want advice on a bike to go and buy. Go find a Suzuki TU250X. If you are over 180 pounds I'll have to work on some other suggestion for a bike to get.

" No, I'm not asking for you to tell me what to do. Suggesting a good bike to begin with really isn't too hard now is it. Building, transforming, modding, tweaking, whatever you wanna call it... I can do. " With respect, you are.

Some eye candy to take the edge off:

st250_02_zoom.jpg

"Danger is my business"
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Witworth & Co., I appreciate the pic of the Suzuki, that's a nice looking bike. For the record, I'm not worked up and I believe there is a huge difference between a newbie introducing himself with some of his background then stating what his goals are VS. coming onto a new forum and saying, "I want x, tell me how to do it." One of my other hobbies is shooting/reloading. So many times a newbie will get on the forum and will say, "Tell me what gun to buy, I can't decide." That's totally different than say, "I have shot these guns, can anybody suggest any others or say what they like/dislike about them?" I stated before that I know of nobody with the kind of bike I'd like to end up with so I can't really say I've sat on this or I have ridden this. Sadly, all I have available is the web and the TV. I'm going to try to post a few pics I stole from the web and maybe that will help to explain what I'm after. Maybe then, if someone is willing -as some have been already, and I appreciate it- he could suggest an idea of a bike to be looking for. Sorry if I was unclear before. I readily admit that spelling out what I'm thinking is NOT a strong suit of mine.
moto-guzzi-le-mans-cafe-racer-by-kaffeemaschine-2.jpg cafe-racers-31.jpg cafe-racer-wallpaper-1920x1080.jpg

I really enjoyed restoring that XL250. With the slight overbore, higher compression piston, and racing cam, it was a fun bike to ride. The ergonomics were a little too laid back for me. I wanted a more aggressive stance. Sure, I could go drop a bunch of cash on bullet bike but that's not what I'm after. I like the old school look. While speed is fun, so is practicality. I know a '60s bike isn't going to compete with a 1000cc monster of today. I live six miles from work and would like a daily commuter and a fun bike to cruise around some of our beautiful curving mountain roads we have here. Hopefully those pics and that added description help? I do appreciate all the advice from each person who has taken the time to offer it.
 

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Forget the silver CB pic at the bottom. Just about everything about it makes it a dysfunctional POS. Over rated to the max, that bike is.

The CB200 is slow, and too small. I have ridden one for a while BTW. Too slow for city or country use.

The Guzzi is kinda O.K. There is thousands tied up in that bike. Bare in mind you can spent 20K on an old Guzzi, and you are still stuck with a pretty crude and agricultural piece of machinery, that was designed in the sixties. That seat would be a total pain in the ass.

Tell us how big you are, and what you are prepared to budget for in total, it all helps.

Junk build bikes like Kott or Bryan Fuller do are not cafe racers. They are more like streetbike choppers with stumpy handlebars. Basically are crap to ride.

"Danger, is my business"
 

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Easy killer.

You keep talking about looks and style, all I am saying is that isnt what this place values. I even offered some advice on where to find a place that does value that. Have you googled DoTheTon.com? You might find more like minded people here. Due to the show and people just searching "cafe racer forum" many end up here first....

That last CB450 you posted is a shining example of what NOT to do. Other then the fact that it never even ran, it is functionally worse then the stock bike.
Most here view that as stupid.

There is no "you should start with this" answer. Thats why I was asking questions about what you want to do. But you keep talking about how what you want to do is look at stuff that gives you a bonder on pipeburn. Again little help to be had here. The point of the questions was to see what you wanted to do in the real world. Motorcycles are tools, what job do you want to do?

The CB200 is fairly cliché. No real upgrades from what I can see.

That Guzzi is does have a nice look, and seems to retain a performance mind. That seat makes it look like a parts bike though. Few use guzzi as the base though. Most are scared off of the buy in, or just flat dont know how to work on them.

If you are looking for advice on how to do something in the vain of what you posted I am sorry, but there isnt much help to offer. Those are, for the most part, choppers. They are not vintage performance bikes.
We do vintage performance bikes here. Sucks that "cafe racer" as a term has been diluted, but thats a different conversation.

Basically think of it this way. You walk into an irish pub and then start getting pissed because no one sitting at the bar can tell you how the sushi is here.

I happen to be a Honda guy so sorry for the Honda heavy picture.
Here are some good bikes. Yes some are rare race bikes, but still get the point across.







- - - Updated - - -

All are built to do a job, not to look a dumb way.
 

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:I agree with most others assessment: Good platform, Bad platform, Terrible platform.
Research torsion valve springs and you will find that replacement parts are decades past being available, and you won't find one CB450 with torsion valve springs that has run well in the current century.



… I do not agree that Any traverse inline 4 cylinder 4-stroke makes for a good bike to cut your teeth on. They are wide, heavy, mechanically complex and most, if not all the ones shown so far, have a chain primary drive which totally sucks on a really old I-4 bike. Chains stretch. This particular chain is located smack in the middle of your engine. (part #5 below)

 

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Meh, there is zero to fear with the CB450 valves.
Its like saying that you should not buy a Ducati because of how the Desmo works....

I think that the CB450 is the best Honda twin.

Miss mine a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey Jag and others, thanks for the replies and the insight. Sorry I failed to mention my digits. I'm 180# currently but like to be around 170. I think I mentioned before that I'm looking for a fun but simple commuter and run around bike that reflects a vintage era. Hope that makes sense? Admittedly, I don't have the first clue about cafe racers. The more I try to learn about em the more confused I seem to get, to the point actually that I now wonder if cafe racer means what others, like tv and Wikipedia, have presented them as??
 

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It is fairly simple. Well at least what we are interested in.
Get a bike that actually has some inherent performance. Maybe something that was raced in period. Then make functional improvements to the bike.
Almost no focus on looks, style or any of that bull.

The TV is selling a lifestyle, well mostly selling t shirts.
It is a game of dress up.
Think of it more like what the OCC guys were doing. It was a joke.
CRTV is just the latest brand of chopper.

Not what most here view a cafe racer to really be.
 

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… I do not agree that Any traverse inline 4 cylinder 4-stroke makes for a good bike to cut your teeth on. They are wide, heavy, mechanically complex and most, if not all the ones shown so far, have a chain primary drive which totally sucks on a really old I-4 bike. Chains stretch. This particular chain is located smack in the middle of your engine. (part #5 below)

That's why you should buy a Suzuki :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Jag! Hey, I forgot to ask, I like the fourth bike down in your string of Hondas that you posted recently. I know I shouldn't say style so I'll say it has the kind of it factor I'm drawn to. All the bikes you guys have suggested look like good performers but again, I wouldn't know personally because I've never seen any of them let alone ridden any. I'm thinking I'd like to find a cafe racer meet somewhere and make the journey to go see all the bikes in person and talk with the owners. Do you guys know of anything like that anywhere upcoming?
 
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