Cafe Racer Forum banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone!

I'm looking to start the LONG process of learning to build my own cafe racers, top to bottom. I own a '81 Honda CM400T that's currently in 100 pieces which I rode and took apart for about two years before it ended up in it's current state. I got a bit ambitious with my modifications right before I moved to New York City. I'm relatively comfortable taking everything on that bike except the engine apart on my own- even if it's not wise for me to do so. I plan to pick up a KTM 390 Duke to hold me over in the city til I can move somewhere with a garage, but in the meantime, I'd like to take classes to teach me what I need to disassemble, repair, and modify bikes into cafe racers.

I'd like to be clear that I have zero training on anything related to what I am looking to do. I know that this process will likely take several years, and is unlikely to make me money. I am ok with that. I am doing this because in my few years of riding my bike, I've realized there's nothing I'd rather spend my time doing than taking bike's apart, improving them and putting them back together.

What I'm really asking is if anyone knows of specific classes I should take or skills I should gain. I know I need to learn welding, engine repair, electrical, painting and upholstery (though the last two are not priorities as I could outsource those at first). As an engineer, I found that I use about 5% of what was taught to me in college in my current position. I am trying to avoid wasting my time on classes that cannot really be applied to what I am looking to do. Are classes provided at local community colleges sufficient for what I need? Would these classes be more than I need to know or not enough?

For example, I know I need to learn to weld, but is there a specific type (MIG, TIG etc.) that I should look to concentrate on? I welding a frame something that can be learned in a reasonable amount of time or will it take 10 years to learn to weld something as important as a frame together?

I am new to this forum and this is my first post. I expect criticism, but I am willing to put in the time to learn what I need to. I am just here to figure out what I need to learn from people who already do this. Thanks guys and gals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
I build crap boxes and slap a cafe racer logo on them. Does that count?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,559 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,287 Posts
Hey everyone!

I'm looking to start the LONG process of learning to build my own cafe's, top to bottom.
Well I figure you would need to be a mason with a background in construction. I mean bricklaying is it's own art. Plus interior design as well as a functional understanding of restaurant space design. I mean its a lot.

still I think some of the best cafe's happen organically and reflect the owner/operators sense of unique flair:

truth-coffee-shop-cape-town-700x466.jpg

281.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,287 Posts
Ok here is the non joke answer...

I own a '81 Honda CM400T that's currently in 100 pieces which I rode and took apart for about two years before it ended up in it's current state. I got a bit ambitious with my modifications right before I moved to New York City. I'm relatively comfortable taking everything on that bike except the engine apart on my own- even if it's not wise for me to do so.
Sell it. It's a cheap commuter bike that isn't worth putting time into it at all. There are way more interesting bikes for cheap, just dump that project for whatever you can get for it and walk away.

I plan to pick up a KTM 390 Duke to hold me over in the city til I can move somewhere with a garage, but in the meantime, I'd like to take classes to teach me what I need to disassemble, repair, and modify bikes into cafe's.
Call them racers. It makes you sound like less of a dickhead. There are ways to deal with a moto life in NYC, I did it almost all my life (I moved to ohio in 2013) and ways to get into a garage for less than you think. Sign up for the NYCvinmoto email list would be a first smart move, and get to know everyone in that largely brooklyn based community. It helps.


What I'm really asking is if anyone knows of specific classes I should take or skills I should gain. I know I need to learn welding, engine repair, electrical, painting and upholstery (though the last two are not priorities as I could outsource those at first). As an engineer, I found that I use about 5% of what was taught to me in college in my current position. I am trying to avoid wasting my time on classes that cannot really be applied to what I am looking to do. Are classes provided at local community colleges sufficient for what I need? Would these classes be more than I need to know or not enough?
How old are you? I am guessing you are not in high school anymore so BOCES is kind of out. I mean you can go back but it's a process. Do you want real training? to make a career out of this? I have to be honest It might be best to actually go to a trade school to learn what you want to learn. WyoTech would be my first stop since there are a lot of high profile graduates doing some amazing things.
WyoTech | Mechanic Repair Training | Auto, Body, Diesel, Motorcycle, Marine

UTI is another one I see advertised a lot
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) | Technical Education Trade School

Keep in mind these are schools training people for a real career, so they are going to take it seriously.

The best mechanics I have ever seen though have been trained as aircraft mechanics (A&P licensed). It teaches basic metal fabrication plus complex systems and covers way more than an automotive or motorcycle course would cover because...well...the stakes are higher if you are a bad airplane mechanic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
Just dont do things like Pipeburn does, for example:

14_07_2016_Sur_Les_Chapeaux_De_Roues_Kawasaki_Z1000ST_02.jpg



Maybe there is someone out there that likes this. But to me it looks ugly and cheap
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,287 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
I hope you mean the motorcycle that converts to sell coffee/tea...because YESS!!!!!!!

If you mean this guy doing something with a cb/cm, nah...
Ohhh, you could set up some liquid cooling that actual is the coffee brewing as the engine runs! Sure it might taste a bit like gas and oil, but hey, the real petrol heads will dig that right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
Other than the basic mechanical and fabrication skills, you need a good knowledge of old motorcycle racing mods and race bike history, not just a mental gallery of what passes as a cafe racer today. You need to be able to visualize what you're trying to accomplish on a specific bike, know which bikes are a waste of time and energy, and have a good aesthetic sense for the overall look of the bike, blending the functionality into that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,287 Posts
Ohhh, you could set up some liquid cooling that actual is the coffee brewing as the engine runs! Sure it might taste a bit like gas and oil, but hey, the real petrol heads will dig that right?
umm...no, that would be gross. Also coffee is acidic and would eat your engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Ok here is the non joke answer...

Sell it. It's a cheap commuter bike that isn't worth putting time into it at all. There are way more interesting bikes for cheap, just dump that project for whatever you can get for it and walk away.
Yeah I never meant to imply that my CM is the bike I'm going to invest my time into, just info on what I have experience with.

Call them racers. It makes you sound like less of a dickhead. There are ways to deal with a moto life in NYC, I did it almost all my life (I moved to ohio in 2013) and ways to get into a garage for less than you think. Sign up for the NYCvinmoto email list would be a first smart move, and get to know everyone in that largely brooklyn based community. It helps.
Weird that it's not "cool" to call them cafe racers on caferacer.net, but ok. Noted. Thanks. And thanks for the NYCvinmoto tip.


How old are you? I am guessing you are not in high school anymore so BOCES is kind of out. I mean you can go back but it's a process. Do you want real training? to make a career out of this? I have to be honest It might be best to actually go to a trade school to learn what you want to learn. WyoTech would be my first stop since there are a lot of high profile graduates doing some amazing things.
WyoTech | Mechanic Repair Training | Auto, Body, Diesel, Motorcycle, Marine

UTI is another one I see advertised a lot
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) | Technical Education Trade School

Keep in mind these are schools training people for a real career, so they are going to take it seriously.

The best mechanics I have ever seen though have been trained as aircraft mechanics (A&P licensed). It teaches basic metal fabrication plus complex systems and covers way more than an automotive or motorcycle course would cover because...well...the stakes are higher if you are a bad airplane mechanic.
I'm 27, so BOCES isn't really an option. I'm not in a situation where I could quit my job and put myself back through school, so I'll need to take classes at night or on weekends, one at a time most likely, all which puts me at a disadvantage. I'd love to turn this into a career but that's not something I'm counting on, I really just love motorcycles, taking things apart and putting them back together. Being able to do that is worth the money to me, even if there's no monetary payoff. If I do this, don't want to cut corners, so I'll have to see how plausible those classes you mentioned are for me to take.

Thanks for the tips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
umm...no, that would be gross. Also coffee is acidic and would eat your engine.
Not if you have ceramic heads!! Ok so my dream of being a motorcycle barista maybe ill conceived lol
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top