Cafe Racer Forum banner

Read first!

21447 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ffarl
Hey There Fella (or lady, we're cool with that)!

We're glad you joined, and we're looking forward to hearing about your project. Here are a few tips to help your first post go smoothly.

1. Fill out your profile before you post. Tell us where you're from, where you live, what your experience is with bikes, wrenching, machining, racing and restoring. It's way easier for us to answer any questions you may have when we know what level of experience you're coming from, and where you are geographically. We promise not to tell the NSA.

2. The folks on this forum want your bike to perform it's best, and be safe for you to ride. They only care how it looks AFTER all speed and safety issues have been addressed. Keep that in mind and expect to get some criticism if you're more worried about looks than performance.

3. The residents here are mostly old-school riders who have time in the saddle and most likely on the track. Their advice is valuable, and sometimes harshly delivered. They will help to steer you the right way if you let them. This is not to say that they are always right, or that there is even one right answer for most of the questions asked here. We are all entitled to our opinion, but know that theirs comes from experience.

4. Use the search function to find answers to your questions before you start a new thread. There is a wealth of knowledge already on this board and ripe for picking.

5. Pictures designed to look cool are rarely helpful in diagnosing a problem with your bike. Try to post clear, unfiltered wide views, or specific areas if that's what you're working on. Help us help you!

That'll get ya started. Thanks and have fun!
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Not open for further replies.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Fair statements all! Really REALLY use the search function! Then post an intelligent question based on what you find. The answers you receive will be much more usable.
As the new yorkers will point out - this iste was founded and still frequented by guys who actually know each others in real life. keep this in mind. The main issues that cause negative first impressions here and thus cause backlash are:

1. Beginners (often in motorcycling) - and this seems to be most common with younger generation - getting annoyed when they don't get the reactions they want. If you ask (and even if you don't) advise/opinions from more experienced be prepared to get unexpected answers and put the effort to understand them.

2. You will get flack for horrible platforms that have been turned or are about to be turned into a vague "cafe". If you were joining an off road forum would you be surprised if you got crap for starting building your desert racer from a Toyota Camry? Would you then just insist that you are making it unique and you are just building it for yourself? Modifying bikes to cafe racers come from an era when specialized race bikes didn't really exist. Off road, cruising and street race bikes were modified from universal platforms. By the 80s the market had started to respond by creating bikes that had diverged from the more neutral universal platform. Cruising, touring, commuter, superbike and other formats had started to emerge. Picking an 80s cruiser with 16inch rear and broken back sloped semi chopper frame will not turn into a racer. If you want a race replica (and that is what a cafe racer is) start from a platform that remotely makes sense.
We don't hate other kind of bikes - people do comment on pointless plans that ignore the strengths and weaknesses of certain bike models.

3. Start with as good of a bike you can afford. a $300 bike that doesn't run and has been neglected is a way worse deal than a $1500 non pristine but registered daily rider with no leaks and somewhat fresh wearing items. As the saying goes the bikes you get for free are the most expensive ones.

4. Don't get all pissy right away because we don't love your work. There are critical minds at play - you are free to ignore opinions/advise but don't be shocked about it.

Main issues that pop up with a typical bike exif or pipeburn inspired bike. are

1. Crappy emgo or emgo style metal mesh air filters that don't really flow air very well and they certainly don't filter anyhting. Similar if not as common idiocy is a velocity stack with a mesh cover. The mesh will reduce the flow more than any benefit from the stack itself and it will only filter bees and wasps, flies and sand can make it just fine.

2. Removed fenders. You want fenders. Front fenders often act as a brace but also the purpose as a protector from sand, small rocks, water and mud is real. If you are not planing on riding your bike then you don't need fenders. Then again this might not be the site for you. This includes inner rear fender or at least a plate that prevents the rear tire from sand blasting the frame, engine, airbox/air filters, etc. etc. Really.

3. Clubmans, upside bars, low clip ons with stock foot peg location. This is even more crazy on a cruiser like geometry where pegs are forward of the ass. Low bars on race bikes go with foot peg location that is further back often called rearsets. Seat bars and pegs form the combination that makes ergonomics and control work. If you find rearsets to be too much of an effort stick with bars that don't fold you over. Superbike bars often look better than higher stock bars and give a good compromise of bit more weight on hands but still work with stock pegs. Some dirt bike bends are good too and come in many slight variations for your liking. Superbike bars are cheaper than dirt bars. as if $30 difference would make a difference in this hobby.

4. Bad tires. Dirt tires, dirt rear tires in the front, old cracked dry tires, too wide tires, clown show retro replicas etc. Bad tires suck and are dumb as swapping to good rubber is the easiest way to improve handling. If you are after a look over a bike that rides good then shame on you. I have a chrome exhaust tip with dual 2.5" inch pipes for your corolla. Looks super trick.

5. Chinese shocks. You can buy shocks on ebay that cost $50-70. You are not the only one who knows of these. They suck. They can be made to work by rebuilding and modifying them - a few peeps have done it.

6. lowering a bike. That is just dumb. Bikes don't need to be lowered. You will just scrape stuff in turns and make handling worse.

5. questionable frame mods. Resist the urge to cut the rear frame hoop as 1st order of business. And if you do make changes think how the forces act on the frame. Some have the eye some don't - some CLEARLY don't. Ask for advise and brace and tie together stuff rather than leave chopped floppy subframe with left and right side totally disconnected. Use your brain and don't make frame mods that limit tire travel. In a turn centrifugal force will push down your suspension. The faster and tighter the turn more true, now imagine a bump in a fast, tight turn - do you want your rear tire grinding to your frame?

and last list is about how to approach building a bike. This is mostly true for anyone but more for beginners. DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE IN TV. Tearing everything apart is not the way to do it. Here is what I wrote in another thread:

But yeah OP read a bit here. What you are talking about with "ripping into it and tearing it apart" is total idiocy and nonsense. That's what happens in the TV shows where they build a bike in 3 weeks and say lots of cool words (and typically smash removed parts into pieces - at least on the car resto shows you NEED to use hammer for the old windshield if you are replacing it).

The actual smart way is to:
1. Do a full tune up and basic maintenance, get it running, don't disassemble any system.
2. Ride it. Learn what it needs what is wrong with it.
3. Fix "a system". Lets say front brake is not satisfactory, fix it.
4. Ride it.
5. Fix/improve a system.
6. Ride it.
7. Fix improve a system.
8. Ride it.
9. Think its pretty good? NOW take it apart, sanblast, paint/powder whatever. Put it back together.
10 Be happy.

the far more common way is:

1. Buy a non runner with vague or no paperwork.
2. Tear motor, all wires, wheels, gauges
3. Despite trying to label and document displace some parts.
4. Polish the engine cases, sparybomb the whole engine (without knowing if/how it runs)
5. Cut frame from behind the seat.
6. Cut all "useless" brackets.
7. paint frame, add bump seat
9. Try to put it together (see #3)
10. Try to start it. Whine when its so complicated to get it running right (dirty carbs, changed exhaust and intake on a bike that you never had running (at least well) in the 1st place).
11. Realize that the powder coated frame would need a tab welded for the new exhaust or some other small mod done to it. You can't without ruining the paintjob.
12. Try to get the bike registered only to realize its near impossible. Some states suck if you don't have tittle and in many places you need to show the bike (meaning DOT everything needs to be there) if the papers are unclear.
12. Call the bike done and post it on forums to get praise
13. get pissy because people tell you that you have turned a fine motorcycle to badly working poserish cliche piece of shit.

**** = common points to give up.

REALLY. Keep the bike functioning and keep your sub-projects ideally in less than long weekend chunks. If you want to put a new trick rim on the bike, don't just tear everything apart and then start wondering what will you do. Plan first. And I mean really plan. You can see folks here who have done it many times and they worry about the shine and visuals last. Sure there are people like Dean who do full blown restos and start from one end and go through every bolt and nut BUT they are the exception and they have major experience. So please don't just buy a working bike and tear it into pieces.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Slow clap.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I actually meant to close this thread for comment, but I don't think I can delete that. Well said.

And with that... it's closed.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Not open for further replies.