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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Well..... I picked the bike up for about $300..... so far I’ve cleaned the carbs is about it.... but I’m not sure what to do with it......
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I’ve been riding for about 40 years and picked this up because it was a bike I wanted in my younger days... it came complete with a Hondaline fairing..... but.... I’m not sure I want to go back to original. It just looks too bulky.....

When I was a kid... I started to make a CB175 into a cafe racer (....which meant I bought a JC WHITNEY fairing and “racing” bars”.... I thought I might try it again...

Unfortunately I’ve rebuilt cars and tractors, but never a motorcycle.... Do you think the Sabre would be a bit too much ?????
 

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I'd leave the cafe racer aspirations for now and focus on getting it running reliably and safely. Does it have a title? That could be a job stopper for most of us.

If it runs, it will probably need new tires and cables and a carb strip ( I don't know what your carb clean included) and that assumes the motor is OK. If it runs, give it a complete service and fresh rubber and go and ride it when the weather allows that. While you are racking up the miles, that's the time to think about things you want to change.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.... yes I’ve done the carb strip... Diaphrams look good and all..... I am a little worried about syncing them (....since everything else I have done has had one carb).
I understand what you are saying about getting it running first.....and I will. It’s just if I go to the V4 site they will all say to restore it (having searched other posts). To me, this is a common production bike right? ....and the motor has some cam issues? I’m wondering if it’s worth messing with, or should I look at a CB or CX...

This is a throwaway bike for me. I have one right now I’m using to get around. I’m just wondering am I going to be throwing bad money after bad.
Thanks,
Brad
-edited to add... yes it has a title
 

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If it has enormous sentimental value to you then by all means go ahead and restore it. To me, it doesn't seem like a very collectible bike, so it falls into a category of don't spend a fortune on it, but make it fun.

For example it would be difficult to turn into a lightweight cafe racer, but would work well as a road sled, muscle bike. If it were mine, I'd look at fitting a different seat and rear fender to lighten the look and I'd replace the gauges with a simple modern Koso or similar. Maybe move the pegs back a little and fit a set of superbike bars and a coat f paint. The seat matches the rear of the tank so maybe look at modifying that stock seat to make it more like a Corbin gunfighter or superbike race seat but classy.

She's a big girl but that doesn't mean she couldn't lose a little weight, change her clothes and makeup (bodywork and paint) and be taught how to dance. Research the cam issue and if necessary, you might be able to fit a set of hardfaced cams. Don't go mad though. She still has to tiptoe through traffic.
 

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surely if it is still running it'd have had the cam mods done by now?

you'd not be the first to try to turn a chopper into a cafe racer. been a few of these here. mostly the owners talk like you have about the cheap throwaway thing, then throw away some money in a half arsed attempt to turn it in to something it's not. to make it anything you'll need to sink come cash into it. of course it's not worth it, it's a shitbox old honda. look at steveo's 500 quid honda thread to see how fast they consume cash. but, any old bike you care to mention, even those fucking cx shitboxes, will consume a heap of money done well. most aren't.

but if you want to impress us (or yourself, i mean really caring what we actually think is not something i give a shit about) you'll spend at least $1,500 on tyres/suspension/brakes/chassis and make it turn and stop. tune it well, then add lightness. shitcan all the heavy bodywork, instruments, etc. well set up - ie, good shock, forks with emulators/shim inserts, good tyres, well tuned - it'll be a bike that can ride around lots of current things pretty easily. and fun.

and that's the point. none of the money we spend on our old bikes is worth it. but it's fun. people waste money doing all sorts of shit. we do bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
If it were mine, I'd look at fitting a different seat and rear fender to lighten the look and I'd replace the gauges with a simple modern Koso or similar. Maybe move the pegs back a little and fit a set of superbike bars and a coat f paint. The seat matches the rear of the tank so maybe look at modifying that stock seat to make it more like a Corbin gunfighter or superbike race seat but classy.
That’s kind of what I was thinking. Maybe some more a the classic look analog gauges than the Kosos (I did a quick search and only came up with the digital) and probably a round headlight. Nothing big in the mod department right off.
50,000 miles on that motor bothers me a bit. Before I got this bike every other one has been air cooled and I wouldn’t look at anything over 20k miles.

edited to add- I did have a CBR600F1 16 years ago, so I guess this is my second water cooled bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
surely if it is still running it'd have had the cam mods done by now?

you'd not be the first to try to turn a chopper into a cafe racer. been a few of these here. mostly the owners talk like you have about the cheap throwaway thing, then throw away some money in a half arsed attempt to turn it in to something it's not. to make it anything you'll need to sink come cash into it. of course it's not worth it, it's a shitbox old honda. look at steveo's 500 quid honda thread to see how fast they consume cash. but, any old bike you care to mention, even those fucking cx shitboxes, will consume a heap of money done well. most aren't.

but if you want to impress us (or yourself, i mean really caring what we actually think is not something i give a shit about) you'll spend at least $1,500 on tyres/suspension/brakes/chassis and make it turn and stop. tune it well, then add lightness. shitcan all the heavy bodywork, instruments, etc. well set up - ie, good shock, forks with emulators/shim inserts, good tyres, well tuned - it'll be a bike that can ride around lots of current things pretty easily. and fun.

and that's the point. none of the money we spend on our old bikes is worth it. but it's fun. people waste money doing all sorts of shit. we do bikes.
Ha..... Don’t worry..... I’ll try not to impress y’all too much with my skills ... I’m mostly lookin for a hobby and just couldn’t pass up the bike. What you said about suspension and feel is ALL about what I want... with a little acceleration in the straightaways to get the heart pumping a little...
My canyon racing days are over.... I don’t have the nerve for it anymore.. if I hit a curve at 10 over the posted speed limit I’m smiling......
soooo.... I’ve got the bike, and it sounds like not a terrible choice. I might give er a go.....

I think where I really might impress you guys is with the integrated luggage rack.......
 

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... I think where I really might impress you guys is with the integrated luggage rack.......
Good luck with that, if I want to carry luggage I drive my truck.
If it was my nickel I would get it running decent, turn it into a solo ride, label it a cafe racer and flog it to some kid who doesn't know any better.
... or learn everything you can from unclerob and build it a decent frame.
 

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Ha..... Don’t worry..... I’ll try not to impress y’all too much with my skills ... I’m mostly lookin for a hobby and just couldn’t pass up the bike. What you said about suspension and feel is ALL about what I want... with a little acceleration in the straightaways to get the heart pumping a little...
My canyon racing days are over.... I don’t have the nerve for it anymore.. if I hit a curve at 10 over the posted speed limit I’m smiling......
soooo.... I’ve got the bike, and it sounds like not a terrible choice. I might give er a go.....

I think where I really might impress you guys is with the integrated luggage rack.......
then clean it up and make it run nice and ride it. it's old and so ugly all the kids will think it's retro cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ha..... Don’t worry..... I’ll try not to impress y’all too much with my skills ... I’m mostly lookin for a hobby and just couldn’t pass up the bike. What you said about suspension and feel is ALL about what I want... with a little acceleration in the straightaways to get the heart pumping a little...
My canyon racing days are over.... I don’t have the nerve for it anymore.. if I hit a curve at 10 over the posted speed limit I’m smiling......
soooo.... I’ve got the bike, and it sounds like not a terrible choice. I might give er a go.....

I think where I really might impress you guys is with the integrated luggage rack.......
then clean it up and make it run nice and ride it. it's old and so ugly all the kids will think it's retro cool.
I want to think it’s retro cool..... 🙂 I guess there are better frames out there.... What are “good” production frames out there? I can always add clip ons, a Sabre tank and a seat to get the “retro cool” look I want...... I am not a frame builder....
 

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you mean a better frame to put your engine in? this isn't like cars, where you start swapping bits here and there. i think, from what others have said, that these things are unique even for 750 v4 honda - the vf750 or whatever you call it over there sport bike engine is rotated a bit more and mounted differently? plus this is shaft drive? the frame you have is it.
 

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The bad cam thing is more urban myth than reality - there were some instances of cam pitting on the very first VF750's but they were rectified pretty quick. Unfortunately the reputation of those V4's suffered as a result.

If your bike is running now it won't have cam issues.

Look up Sabre Cafe on this board - Dino did a cafe racer with a Sabre (a 700?) and he did a pretty good job with it.....but he put a LOT of hours into it.

Found the link.....

https://www.caferacer.net/forum/project-builds/19682-1985-honda-vf700s-sabre-cafe-project.html
 

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The bad cam thing is more urban myth than reality - there were some instances of cam pitting on the very first VF750's but they were rectified pretty quick. Unfortunately the reputation of those V4's suffered as a result.

If your bike is running now it won't have cam issues.

Look up Sabre Cafe on this board - Dino did a cafe racer with a Sabre (a 700?) and he did a pretty good job with it.....but he put a LOT of hours into it.

Found the link.....

https://www.caferacer.net/forum/project-builds/19682-1985-honda-vf700s-sabre-cafe-project.html
I had forgotten that one. He started off with more extensive mods including a completely custom gas tank IIRC and brought it back to stock tank plus custom seat and it turned out better than it had any reason to. It looked good when he finished it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The bad cam thing is more urban myth than reality - there were some instances of cam pitting on the very first VF750's but they were rectified pretty quick. Unfortunately the reputation of those V4's suffered as a result.

If your bike is running now it won't have cam issues.

Look up Sabre Cafe on this board - Dino did a cafe racer with a Sabre (a 700?) and he did a pretty good job with it.....but he put a LOT of hours into it.

Found the link.....

https://www.caferacer.net/forum/project-builds/19682-1985-honda-vf700s-sabre-cafe-project.html
Thanks for the link..... I’m on my second time through it..... I was doing some looking around yesterday and think this is generally the “look” I was going for.
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I understand a lot of things need to happen before I worry about the looks.But I like the idea of the shaft drive (I had one on a XJ650LJ, and loved it).

Ok then.... when I get back in March, I’ll get busy.... in the meantime.... I’m just gonna enjoy the weather and ride.....

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Discussion Starter #16
you mean a better frame to put your engine in? this isn't like cars, where you start swapping bits here and there. i think, from what others have said, that these things are unique even for 750 v4 honda - the vf750 or whatever you call it over there sport bike engine is rotated a bit more and mounted differently? plus this is shaft drive? the frame you have is it.
Thanks BB..... After your comment yesterday about turning a chopper into a cafe racer, I went out did a little searching and was just curious if any “production” bikes were better than others to start with. Found out a lot about rake and trail and frame flex etc..... now I’m really confused....

But I gotta start somewhere, so I think the VF is where I’ll start.
 

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people start out here with totally inappropriate shit all the time, then tell us they're going to make it work no matter what we say. starting with a cheap piece of shit that isn't suited to the end point as you see it will just cost you more money.

the old bikes that are suited the best to the picture you have in your mind are the ones that are now in demand and expensive. they also have the best parts support to help achieve said visual aim.
 

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Thanks BB..... After your comment yesterday about turning a chopper into a cafe racer, I went out did a little searching and was just curious if any “production” bikes were better than others to start with. Found out a lot about rake and trail and frame flex etc..... now I’m really confused.... .
Take the fuel tank off and look at how the frame is connected to the steering head (the part that carries the bearings) If there is a whole lot of triangulation going on there like you would see in a modern perimeter frame, that represents some effort to make the bike handle better under extreme forces, if the frames backbone is just a straight tube with a bunch of thin metal gussets welded onto it to give it some strength and hidden by a saddle tank, then the main design criterial was economical construction.

Good examples would be to compare a Honda RC frame to a Honda CB frame.
 

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verty rare in fact i have never seen a jap shafty in a custom swingarm frame,because of the added complexity at the swinger pivot
and zero maket for them anyway
 
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