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Nice bit on the history of the Cafe culture and bikes, I've read some similar things before.
Like any other specialized niche of culture, individual's ideas of how they define the concept of Cafe Racers is understandably highly subjective.

I too get annoyed when some yahoo puts a set of Clubman's on some plain old, uninspiring 30 year old bike and calls it a Cafe Racer. Some of the innovation and work I've seen done by guys like you all (and frankly, myself, too!) over the years tells me you have to put a bit more time and effort into something than slapping a cheap set of bars on it before you have to right to call it a Cafe Racer...but that's just IMHO.

BTW I've been trying to rub out some stubborn, light unknown stains out of an RD350B tank, trying to decide which one is in better shape and which one to cut for my seat cowl. I've been using a 3M 1200 grit rubbing compound that has worked about 60%, but now I wonder how much lower grit I can go w/o damaging the clearcoat and perhaps getting the rest of the stains out. Any ideas?



Edited by - Quicklimegirl on Mar 02 2007 10:21:51 PM
 

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i'm not too good on "post-clear" but i would not try the 1200 for long. what kind of stain is it? i've cleaned a bunch of them off with a steam cleaner and it took a while but it worked great. how many coats of clear do you have on the tank, or is it factory clear?

CB650, FauxCatiFT500
 

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It's the factory clear coat, as far as I know.
I'm not sure what the stain is from, probably old oil or grease.
I had it stored on a shelf above my workbench, and I don't remember seeing them before. I think some pre-mix blowby on the inside of my RZ's bodywork got on it when it was taken off the bike and stacked on top of the tank, it's a light black stain. It definitely got better with several minutes' rubbing and I might try a bit more tonight.

The sun's coming out so I think I'll ride to the hardware store on and look for some more stuff, but wait to hear what else you have to say before I try a tougher grit.
 

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here is my "last ditch" paint fix:

Go get wet sanding sand paper in 800, 1000, and 1500 plus turtle wax polishing compound if you have a buffer and a professional hand rubbing glaze if doing it by hand.

Wet sand the tank with the 800 (the entire tank), clean and then do the 1000 and finally 1500. make sure you have cleaned all the sanding slag off of each sanding coat before going to the next highest grit. go slow and be careful around any corners or ridges where you can burn through the paint really easy. Check your work periodically too. After you have finished sanding, hit it with the polishing compound which is about 2000+ grit. after you have polished the tank give it too coats of a high quality carnuba wax.

if that doesn't take it out nothing will
 

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don't bother getting the stain out. chances are you'll go through the clear and have a bigger problem on your hands. any way, stains like that probabley make your bike look more, well, cafe. it's the kind of thing that the antique roadshow will swoon over in 40 years. can you say "patina"? (that's "life" using another word). just my oppinion.
parks
 

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Along the lines of this thread. Went to my Suzuki/Harley dealership today saw something that made me sicker than normal. Harley "Dyna Bob" $17,000 for a f!!cking flat black Harley. The guy that buys it probably won't even know what a bobber is. Everything cool gets co-opted and sodomized by corporate America. BTW it also pisses me off when I see cars described as ratrods sell for $20,000 on ebay.

Had a job once, didn't like it
 

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Well, the tank doesn't look terrible...but it just kinda pains me because I should have wrapped and boxed it up until using it, it was near perfect. Besides the minor staining, there are now a couple of chips about the size of 2-3 pinheads. From a few feet though, it looks pretty good. I may try a bit more with some of the stuff mentioned, but I'm not going to kill myself over it..this is no museum piece or concours trailer queen!

I think I'll take this one, seal off the vent lines and petcock mount hole, and try an electrostatic way of rust removal I read about on my local vintage club newsletter. If it works as promised I'll give details if anyone would like them.

Tomorrow I'm going to take off the tank currently on the bike, drain and clean out well. Perhaps by next weekend it might be safe to start cutting the cowl. I should have time to rebuild the rear caliper on my other RD350 tomorrow, too.

But all bets are off if it's partly sunny again tomorrow afternoon. We had a great (but a bit cold) ride through the twisties on SR503 between Battle Ground and Cougar today. This is in SW Washington, the route that eventually can be taken (62 more miles, when open) to the top of Windy Ridge adjacent to Mt. St. Helens' crater. We pretty much had the road to ourselves. Amazingly, I didn't even feel rusty. I'm still smiling thinking about how much fun it was. Very little gravel anywhere, and the road was wet on about half of it, but with newer tires on both bikes it felt fine. This time of year these days don't come that often!



Edited by - Quicklimegirl on Mar 04 2007 02:37:06 AM

Edited by - Quicklimegirl on Mar 04 2007 02:37:48 AM
 

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quote:
Along the lines of this thread. Went to my Suzuki/Harley dealership today saw something that made me sicker than normal. Harley "Dyna Bob" $17,000 for a f!!cking flat black Harley. The guy that buys it probably won't even know what a bobber is. Everything cool gets co-opted and sodomized by corporate America. BTW it also pisses me off when I see cars described as ratrods sell for $20,000 on ebay.

Had a job once, didn't like it
you are making a big assumption that flat black was ever "cool"

Considering you are equating flat black with a "bobber" it is likely you have no idea what a real "bobber" is either
 

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I think he's pointing out that H-D is equating flat black with bobbers, for marketing purposes.

Black is always cool. Flat black is/was trendy (although, since it is black after all, it can be cool too).
 

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quote:
I think he's pointing out that H-D is equating flat black with bobbers, for marketing purposes.

Black is always cool. Flat black is/was trendy (although, since it is black after all, it can be cool too).
They aren't though. They are introducing cheaper models with the flat black paint because a lot of customers have asked for the satin finish on their standard models. HD has had the night train for a long time which was an all black bike and now that they are doing it in flat to give the bike more of an option.

they also have a new sporty that is cut down with all the garbag taken off. It really has more of a drag bike feel than a bobber, and is being marketed as a stripped down bare bones tought guy kind of motorcycle than a "bobber". I have seen most of the HD literature on it including alot of internal correspondence about marketing and nowhere does it mention bobber.

If he associates this with a bobber it is because he doesn't know what a true bobber is - but you can't blame him most of modern motorcycle builders don't know what a bobber is either and call anything flat black with no rake and cut down a bobber.

Flat black may have been trendy but the color and texture alone does not make it cool.
 

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Ok explain your version of what a bobber is then, quess I don't know.

I do know what a Nitetrain is, couple buddies have had them. They're softails. A "Dyna Bob" is a dyna, wideglide, twin shock whatever they call that chassis. I'll ask my bro he's got a Dyna Custom. Anyhow not a diferent color of the same bike.

In my tiny world flat black is always cool, except when it's store-bought by some poser. Thanks for asking
 

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To me this is a Bobber in its most extreme sense

This is my friends bike, he bought it as a basket case and made it this way.

To me a bobber is kinda inbetween a cruiser and a chopper, usually with ape hangers and a round bubble gas tank and the front end is chopped with a little more angle

22/m
1980 Honda CB750
1972 Oldsmobile 442
 

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A true bobber or bob-tail is a bike (usually made between 1920 and mid 1960s) that does double duty as a street bike and a flat track race bike.

In motorcycling's early days flat track racing was extremely popular and would often travel with carnivals along with dirt track stock car racing. Additionally local dirt tracks would run motorcycles on one day and stock cars on the next day. Most bike owners would not have the cash to have a street bike and a race bike so their daily mount would double as their race bike. Factory backed bikes of this era were thin on speed parts so there was a chance that a talented independant could be a local hero on his indian, harley or triumph. These racers figured out what stuff they could live without and what could easily be unbolted. The term bobber actually comes from removing or "bobbing" (name taken from the popular short hair style of the 1930s) the rear section of the fender to save weight and make tire changes easier between rounds (on harleys this was just a matter of removing the hinge pin, on indians and trumpets in involved cutting). Hillclimbs were also popular at this time and many guys would ride their bike to the meet, unbolt what they didn't need, run the flat track and then run the hillclimb before bolting it all on and going home (if they didn't wad the bike). A real bobber is a bike that does double duty as a street bike and a flat track (and sometimes hillclimb) race bike. A bobber was a bike that the owner made sure could do it all. The were from an era where a bike was not a garaged toy but a means of transportation and a tool.

Styling wise, most bikes were the same layout from that period (rigid frame, springer front end) and these have come to define the bobber "look" along with the cut fender. Most bobbers had factory paint jobs and lettering. Fancy bikes and factory supported bikes were custom painted and often had striping and leaf work. Bikes that were crashed often were painted with whatever the owner could brush on in his spare time. A lot of this was in the tradition of the board track racers that preceded these bikes. You can't have a jap bike bobber (unless it is the brit company JAP) because deidcated flat track race bikes became the standard before the japanese companies began selling in large quantities in the states. Flat black and stock rake and lowered suspension does not make a bike a bobber no matter how much you want it to.

The modern interpretation of a "bobber" pisses all over what there early bikes were. In fact what most people think of as a "bobber" is really an early (1950's-early 1960's) chopper. Before extended forks and peanut tanks became common place, guys were stuck with stock rake and suspension. They built bars out of whatever they could find and threw out what they didn't need because they didn't want to have to fix it on the road later on. It was done more for style than purpose and it eventually led into the frame mods that defined choppers in the 1960s and 1970s. What sux now is some of these modern "bobber" owners are snobbish about long fork choppers when in fact they are just riding an earlier evolution of the style.

Psyco Diver 69 - your buddy's bike is styled like an early 60's frisco chopper (even though it is an ironhead sporty, the paint is 60's-70s all the way). A lot of 1%'ers liked that style because it was easy to ride in traffic and shunned the long bikes of the 60's and 70's. Sorry it is not a bobber, but it is still a good looking bike.

In the era of 40s-60's garage hotrodding flat black or primer rods were not cool. They were considered unfinished cars (or bikes) and it showed that the owner didn't have the scratch for a good laquer job or candy or flake. Since 90% of the rods from that era were the builders only mode of transportation they had to make do until they could secure that fancy paint work. Flat black and primered cars were considered lame. Then sometime around the 1970s primered street machines (musclecars mostly) became popular because they were all business. They were primered or flat black because the owner didn't have time for fancy paint, he was too busy building horsepower or racing. This was kind of a small backlash to the custom crowd who had picked up the ball and ran with candy colors and flake and striping in the 60's and was out of control in the 1970s. Movies like two lane black top and mad max help to establish this in pop culture. Sometime in the late 90's rockabilly guys began to embrace the 70's raw street machine ethic with 1950s unfinished rods and you got flat black with stripes. Cool? maybe but not really because most of these guys are whiny babies about how many flat black trendy rods are out there and theirs is cool because they did it first (oh and don't use the term rat rod around them either).

No bike is ever cool just because it is flat black. A bike can be raw and menacing and be painted flat black and be totally badass cool, but painting your UJM 1970's otherwise mostly stock Jap bike flat black will not give it attitude alone. The flat black can add to attitude but it can't create it. This is why flat black is not "cool". Truth of the matter is it is a cheap finish and says "look at the rest of the bike - that is what is important". If the rest of your bike can't back it up then what? Lame.

Psyco Diver 69 - your cb750 is badass because it looks cobbled together (mad max-ish) and like it could kill you for no reason. The black fits it but it is not cool because it is rattle canned - it is cool because it looks liek you built it out of left over lawn furniture and found objects in your garage and then painted it with house paint.

BTW I stand corrected on the "bobber" marketing for the nightster. Just got my new issue of cycleworld and was reading it on the can an hour ago and they threw around the term bobber pretty loosly (which was not something harley was doing). They also said it was a tough guy motorcycle and compared it to the 1969 sporty which is something harley was saying in their own literature. I place the blame solely on cycle world for being motorcycle morons (espically since edwards owns a real bobber and shoudl be smart enough to know the difference). That being said peter egan is the shiznit.

(BTW this is the burden of having a 1950's greaser and motorcycle nutjob for a father, he fucken lived it and I have had to listen to all shades of it since I was five).



Edited by - Geeto67 on Mar 05 2007 01:48:18 AM

Edited by - Geeto67 on Mar 05 2007 01:49:19 AM
 

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quote:psyco Diver 69 - your buddy's bike is styled like an early 60's frisco chopper (even though it is a shovel motor, the paint is 60's-70s all the way). A lot of 1%'ers liked that style because it was easy to ride in traffic and shunned the long bikes of the 60's and 70's. Sorry it is not a bobber, but it is still a good looking bike.
I always considered it a bobber cause I never knew, he never really defined his bike other than its "my bike and its better than that jesse james fag choppers". He really does not like the weekend warrior chopper guys that buy a 20K chopper to be cool. I just always heard the old original style choppers called bobbers

quote:psyco Diver 69 - your bike is badass because it looks cobbled together (mad max-ish) and like it could kill you for no reason. The black fits it but it is not cool because it is rattle canned - it is cool for the whole package.
The flat black wasn't as much as the look as the bike would look like rust and 4 different colors haha, I couldn't take that. I was thinking black with white as a final color choice, but I would rather ride my bike now. Geez no wonder girls won't hop on the back, their afraid it will kill them for no reason haha. I Gave my bike some cafe aspects but I don't think it is, I just wanted a fun bike that looked different but still cool. Now the other bike I'm building out in the garage is a different story.......

22/m
1980 Honda CB750
1972 Oldsmobile 442

Edited by - Psyco diver 69 on Mar 05 2007 01:58:51 AM
 

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Thanks for the history lesson. I knew some, but not near all of that. Language evolves so I'm still gonna call stock wheelbase/rake chops bobbers or bar hoppers, just not around you. LOL

We could debate the aesthetic coolness of flat black forever. What's cool to me may not be to you. I've always felt fast cars/bikes/girls don't have to be pretty.
 

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"I've always felt fast cars/bikes/girls don't have to be pretty". # out of 4 ain't. Don't forget a fast car/bike can be made pretty. This is my cafe from the early 70s.




Edited by - Hoofhearted on Apr 02 2007 11:10:15 PM

fixed your pic

Edited by - Geeto67 on Apr 02 2007 11:49:53 PM
 

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Pulleese! Would I desecrate a featherbed with a BSA motor? Just joking. Its a 500 Manx engine of approx. 1958. Broke it at a time when parts were not available or unaffordable. Theres a Weslake speedway engine in the frame now. This photo was taken in July of last year


Edited by - Hoofhearted on Apr 03 2007 01:29:56 AM

Edited by - Geeto67 on Apr 03 2007 4:14:09 PM
 

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Bobbers are originally stock harleys that had the rear fender cut off at the hinge (bobbed), and the front fender removed. The big ol' seat removed and replaced with something smaller.

You can call stock wheelbase chops "bobbers" all you want... all it's gonna do is piss off the purists. Which may be reason enough to do it.

One man's story
is another man's shame,
Ain't bound for glory
I'm bound for flames
 

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A known fact: If you need an internet forum to decide what kind of motorcycle you like, you have a tiny penis.

I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere on the internet.

Also, OCC is gay.

That is all.


EDIT: Note: I am actually extremely jealous of OCC since they get to play with motorcycles all day and get paid for it, even if they're gay motorcycles.




Edited by - borzwazie on Apr 03 2007 4:46:17 PM
 
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