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There is an ad on craigslist for a 1976 Suzuki gs550e. I have no experience with Suzukis. The guy is asking for $340, and says "Needs carburetor work and maybe a chain and a battery." if I want to make it a reliable cafe, is it worth my time? Thanks
-Adam
 

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Quick Answer: No.

Less than Quick Answer: it is not because the GS550 is a bad bike, it is not. It is more likely because a) those who know bikes know that a $340 motorcycle is going to need $2K to make reliable and safe, b) because based on the type of questions you are asking you are not qualified to buy a cheap junk motorcycle, c) anybody who knows CL ads knows "needs carbs and a battery" is code for needs everything but I am not trying to scare the stupid away from what is obviously a parts bike.

Take an MSF course, buy a reliable newish bike, stop reading pipeburn and bike EXIF, and go out and put some miles on your bike.
 

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Yeah, it might be a deal and it might be a heap.
Knowledge is always power.

Sure everyone wants to jump on the café bandwagon and live out their dreams these days.
Most want to do this with little to no money.

Bad plan.

IF the goal is to learn to ride, or learn to keep an old bike going then look for something that you can ride day one.
 

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Is that the primary chain it needs ?:I
It's got a mitt full of carburetors and valve thingies! but at least the carbs appear to be pre vacuum era, if this pic is accurate to what you'd be buying but in a horrendous mess.

 

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Everyone seems to have this covered but just a couple thoughts....

Maybe a little more info on yourself, abilities, bikes you own or wish you own....stuff like that.

I am going to assume that when you mean (cafe) you mean a cafe looking machine with the Firestone tires, lowered, clip ons, bar ends and the like. Almost anything can be made into a cafe bike if you have enough money and abilities. The 550 is a good machine and can be tuned nicely and made fast and stable. Keep in mind a nice cafe bike done correctly can be on average 7 to 8 grand.

Keep in mind that the folks here appreciate nice looking machines but are into functional improvements first and foremost. Maybe read the new members section for a little info.
 

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i'll take sassy, coz i really hate spoke wheels.

there's nothing as expensive as a cheap bike. in my world it usually says ducati, but something old and fucked out is just as bad.

i saw this one at barber, and i love the body work on it. but the guys who owned it we're saying it didn't steer as well as the cx500 they also had, which with those wide tyres (tl1000s or r suspension and wheels?) is kind of obvious
 

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Is that the primary chain it needs ?:I
It's got a mitt full of carburetors and valve thingies! but at least the carbs appear to be pre vacuum era, if this pic is accurate to what you'd be buying but in a horrendous mess.

None of the GS 4 cyl bikes ran primary chains - they all ran gears off the crank directly to the clutch basket.

But to the OP - if you don't know what you're looking at as far as what a bike needs to get back on the road, you need to just buy a running bike. Maybe this one might be OK as a long term project, but that's probably another story.
 

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This is Good!

… where is the GS550 in that other picture, oh there it is, a little piece of it anyway:) for 340$ his won't look like that
 

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For about $600 mine looked like this.......



...but it wasn't my first rodeo.
 

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There is an ad on craigslist for a 1976 Suzuki gs550e. I have no experience with Suzukis. The guy is asking for $340, and says "Needs carburetor work and maybe a chain and a battery." if I want to make it a reliable cafe, is it worth my time? Thanks
-Adam
Buy it at that price. Don't think of it as a motorcycle though. It's more of a study aid. A learning experience, which is always worth your time.

The chances of it ever being a good running motorcycle is a bit slim.

BTW, give him less bucks.

Danger, is my business."
 

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Quick Answer: No.

Less than Quick Answer: it is not because the GS550 is a bad bike, it is not. It is more likely because a) those who know bikes know that a $340 motorcycle is going to need $2K to make reliable and safe, b) because based on the type of questions you are asking you are not qualified to buy a cheap junk motorcycle, c) anybody who knows CL ads knows "needs carbs and a battery" is code for needs everything but I am not trying to scare the stupid away from what is obviously a parts bike.

Take an MSF course, buy a reliable newish bike, stop reading pipeburn and bike EXIF, and go out and put some miles on your bike.
Its offtopic but i dont understand this kind of attitude... I understand if somebody is asking " should i make my Guzzi into hardtail because its cool" and you will say " are you stupid or smth" but if guy with no experience is asking an advice then this forums "regulars" tend to answer always "dont do it its a bad idea" without explanation.
Dunno about you but if my son will grow up and wants to have a motorcycle then ill buy him a old cheap bike and tell him to take it apart and build it back up again - the right way... doesnt matter what style will it be cafe: streetfighter bobber or whatever style... the hands on learning process is important.
 

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Its offtopic but i dont understand this kind of attitude... I understand if somebody is asking " should i make my Guzzi into hardtail because its cool" and you will say " are you stupid or smth" but if guy with no experience is asking an advice then this forums "regulars" tend to answer always "dont do it its a bad idea" without explanation.
Dunno about you but if my son will grow up and wants to have a motorcycle then ill buy him a old cheap bike and tell him to take it apart and build it back up again - the right way... doesnt matter what style will it be cafe: streetfighter bobber or whatever style... the hands on learning process is important.
No, you are wrong here. It's also very hard to tell guys what they are doing as dumb, with any grace, when they don't even know the basics and won't listen to good advice because of a teenager's attitude to motorcycling and customising.

Getting an old, running, functional Jap bike with a faded tank and a crusty seat and getting it operational is the right way. But it's vital you keep it as an entire unit, titled, registered and in riding condition.

About one in five bikes that get stripped down to " to take it apart and build it back up again - the right way... " , ever get back together, or back together ' well ' . The actual ratio is probably even more extreme.

Bikes up until the mid eighties need enough general maint to keep you busy and broke to make them good anyway, let alone opening up the motor to throw parts, bucks and pro services at them. If you ride the bike for a few thousand miles, it will tell you what it needs.

I had a Jap scooter once, that talked to me. It often said: " Give me gas, and give me TS oil ". And then it said much later: " Was that an EXGF that just rammed us in her car with ill intent? " WW, such a nice man, how could such a thing happen?

Danger, is my business."
 

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Its offtopic but i dont understand this kind of attitude... I understand if somebody is asking " should i make my Guzzi into hardtail because its cool" and you will say " are you stupid or smth" but if guy with no experience is asking an advice then this forums "regulars" tend to answer always "dont do it its a bad idea" without explanation.
Dunno about you but if my son will grow up and wants to have a motorcycle then ill buy him a old cheap bike and tell him to take it apart and build it back up again - the right way... doesnt matter what style will it be cafe: streetfighter bobber or whatever style... the hands on learning process is important.
couple of things:
1) if a dude is building a hardtail chopper Guzzi and he's a certified welder and has some expirence with motorcycles, who am I to stop him? It isn't the style I object to it is being unsafe about anything.

2) if you want your "kid" to learn about motorcycles enough to fix his own, before you ever get to the motorcycle phase give him DIY small kits so he learns the basics like how to use tools. Small electronics kits, build your own R/C cars, science kits, etc small manageable projects that he can then play with. Before I ever touched a motorcycle I built 4 kit RC cars, about 6 dozen plastic models, a multimeter, a bicycle, and the top end of a small block chevy. I imagine lots others here have the same story.

3) the crux of motorcycles is riding. Not fixing, not "building" (whatever that is), but riding. All those activities are done in furtherance of riding the motorcycle. If you've forgotten that then you have lost your way, but also when you do mods to the bike it can lead to you forgetting that this mod is to help you enjoy the riding expirence. Too many people come into this now thinking fixing the broken motorcycle is the hobby and riding is the side effect, these people miss the point entirely and often build visually appealing but useless junk motorcycles. The people I know who have it as a life long affliction didn't start off with a bike in boxes, they started off with a running motorcycle that they rode everywhere, broke, fixed, and generally relied upon as transport and not a toy. There was a time in this hobby when if you had a broken motorcycle your friends would give you shit about why it didn't run until you fixed it..,now there is this romanticism that if you have a broken motorcycle you are on some kind of journey to inner self discovery and artistic expression....its bullshit. A broken motorcycle and a broken toaster have the same amount of "adventure" locked inside - only when you fix the toaster nobody is going to write on their blog how you are the king of toast and women's ovaries clang like sleigh bells at the sight of your toast making skills.

Its pretty easy easy to spot the dude in over his head in this hobby, he the guy asking the two vague a question in such a way to justify his bad idea. The OP is likely going to buy this $300 shit pile that will never be a motorcycle, and it doesn't matter what we say on this forum, he was just looking for a little reassurance for deep down he knows is a bad idea himself but doesn't fully understand why. Think about it, what kind of person makes a financial decision based on the advice of strangers in one post where he has given no info and doesn't really know the quality of people involved or soundness of the advice he is given?

He's bought a broken toaster but because it is motorcycle shaped he probably will never realize it. It's very unlikely he will ever eat toast.
 

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One more thing....your first motorcycle project, if it is a non running one, will only marginally teach you about motorcycles and then only if you get it running enough to break it. Everybody's first real non running motorcycle project is a lesson in failure. How to cope with failure, how to proceed so as to minimize failure, how even when you succeed you discover 3 ways you could have done it better so you redo it. Wanna learn about bikes? Ride one till it breaks, understand why it broke, how to diagnose, how to repair and how to prevent it from happening again.
 

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buy one with only one cylinder. then there's only one of everything to go wrong. that's why i like twins. then the boy can learn everything about that bike. ride it, fix it, fuck it, unfuck it, repeat. happy days.

learning to tune it well is a real skill. a solid basis in basic hands on tuning is where the love will begin if it's going to.
 

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I am 100000% down for helping people that want to learn to wrench.
But it is a waste to start with a POS bike from CL.

Find a lawn mower or something small.
Find a friend that wrenches on working stuff.

Issues is that people don't want to learn, they want to dive in and tell everyone how cool they are
 

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Kids these days....
 

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Give it time, yours Is a relatively new country :| people need to get out and ride before motorcycles are of any significant value.
 
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