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Discussion Starter #1
I've been in the market for a cb sohc4 for a while now, but recently some cb450's have come to my attention as possible project bikes. What are your thoughts on these vs. the 4 cylinders as a cafe project? How is the performance, ease of finding parts, etc. compared to the 4's?
 

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The twins LOOK the part of a Cafe bike better due to it just being a twin period,but unless they are built to the hilt performance wise they just can't match the fours unless you get into two stroke territory and that's a whole different animal.

Except for having two less pistons,cylinders,less valves etc. it will cost about as much to do anything else to it.
They also don't weigh that much less than the fours and when you factor in power to weight most twins lose to the fours.

I have a CB200T that I got REALLY cheap so I'm going to fix it up,but to go looking for a bike to fix and personally use as my daily rider I would
try to pick up a Honda(CB),Kawasaki(KZ),Suzuki(GS) or Yamaha(Seca/XS) four cylinder,550cc or above.

Just my 2 cents

<img src=icon_smile_cool.gif border=0 align=middle>

http://www.caferacer.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5488

Edited by - coolatula on Jan 27 2008 09:23:26 AM
 

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Well, I think it's all a matter of opinion myself. While I really like the Fours, the Twins can be pretty peppy and made to be decent looking and handling bikes. Nothing wrong with a Twin for around town and maybe even some short trips. Now, I wouldn't think of taking one on a lengthy trip mind you. I've seen some pretty decent Honda 350s, 450s and 500Ts (last ditch effort to keep the 450s going). If you check over on 650motorcycles.com, you'll see a large variety of the Yamaha XS650s being built and they aren't anything to sneeze at. Some of those have been built up to as much as 900cc and built to handle also. Understand, I'm not knocking the Hondas or the SOHC4s (or the DOHC4s either). Just an observation. To Each His Own.

Later on,Bill
 

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the riding quality is different between the bikes is totally different. When riding twins, even new twins like my ducati, it reminds me of the one and only ride I ever had in curtis jenny. Lost of popping and that twin cylinder thump thump always has me imagining I am some scarf flying in the wind ace on his way to meet destiny. Twins have a destiny quality to them. The fours on the other hand have a racy smoothness and sound that used to be associated with sports cars from across the pond (until kids started putting fart cans on hondas). It is easy to imagine yourself Hailwood or mann huggung that tank to glory.

romantics aside, I would take a cb450 twin over the cb400f any day and even the 500/550, but not a 750. Riding quality will get you so far but for the times the cb750 is too much a technical marvel to pass up and there is no replacement for displacement. handling wise I think the 450 has the edge over the 500/550 but not the 400f or the 750 (400 because it is light and punchy and 750 because when you run out of handling you can power out of it).

I am personally not a fan of the cb500T because honda tried to make the cb500T a proper gentleman's bike in English fashion and succeeded in suck the 450 dry of all of its edgyness that makes the bike fun. parts are hit or miss as with most hondas. They are not nearly as easy as a cb750 to get parts for but as compared to a cb350f or 400f you are probably ahead of the game.

If I had a gun to my head to build a japanese twin, it would either be an early cb450 or an xs650, followed by a t500 two stroke.
 

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g-man
a 2 stroke?????
-parks
ps i think i love you a little more now. not that you'd put clubmans on it .
 

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quote:
g-man
a 2 stroke?????
-parks
ps i think i love you a little more now. not that you'd put clubmans on it .
my first T-500 (a green 1971) had clubmans on it when I bought it. Still have the bars but they hit the stock turn signals. still have the bike too built in true q-ship style with shaved heads, wiseco forged pistons, ported cylinders but otherwise stock appearing.

I thought you knew I had a 2-stroke fetish (sickness????). Used to drag race a kh500 (which I still have) and have 5 other two strokes.
 

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Pete,
The real questions become: What do you want to do with it? What are your skills? What do you want it to look like?
I check Minneapolis Craigslist everyday, and always find at least one bike that would be an interesting cafe project. There is a 74 XL350 that the guy has been dropping the price on for about a week now. I think he is down to $450. It would be cool. There is an 82 XL500, too. If you want a small bike to start with there is a TS125 for $250 and a mint CL100 for $1200.
Keep your eyes and mind open and you will be able to find all kinds of stuff.

Ken

AHRMA 412
Vintage racing - old guys on old bikes
 

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In some places, that XL350 would be scooped up and built into a Flat Tracker. Just depends on where it is, as to how folks react, huh?
I'm always hearing about bikes that are TOO FAR AWAY, to pick up on. They are usually, up North, Down in Fla, or out towards (or in) CA (or North of CA). At any rate, cost of gas would make it not worthwhile.

Later on, Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info, guys. As far as my own situation, I'd like to make this a cafe bike. I've never done any motorcycle customization, but I've spent a lot of time working on very picky cars. My dad has 3 bikes, a 71 cb500, a 76 kz650, and a 68 Bonneville. He is very mechanically competent and willing to help me out, so mechanical difficulty is not too much of an issue. I'm mostly concerned with the potential of bike for quick backroads riding and tooling around the city. No touring or anything, obviously. It sounds like a cb450 might be a fun bike for that.
 

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Pistol Pete, personally, I think you've made a good choice. 450s are pretty tough and can make some pretty good power for a bike of that size. When it was introduced, it gave some of the British 650s a hard time. I'm kinda prejudiced about the 450s myself. Can you tell?

Later on, Bill
 

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Generally speaking, and not intentionally to piss-off geeto, the Honda fours are pigs. The cb450 has a top speed only marginally slower than any four, better handling in urban situations, revs to brit-killing rpm's and has two less carbs to deal with. A winning combo all around. I love the little twin but it takes abit of getting used to as the power is all at the top, you really have to get used to keeping it high strung all the time. Also consider there are ton's of race and hop-up parts available. Try browsing:

http://www.thefang.co.uk/cb500trace.htm
http://teamhansenhonda.com/
http://home.earthlink.net/~toddhenningracing/
http://www.m3racing.com/products/index.html

to get you started.

BORN TO LURK, FORCED TO WORK.
www.NYCvinMoto.com
www.VinMoto.org
 

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Bill, you are too right about the xl350, we had one of those guys show up at a half mile in Windsor Maine and the dude cracked a can of whoop ass on us. damn, that's a super cool bike. cheers, bcr
 

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Yeah, as you might guess from my username, I'm a bit on the biased side myself. My first bike was a CB450, and after having gone through a half dozen others, the only bike I've seen fit to keep, and collect more of, are the 450s. The reasons: They're mechanically forgiving. They make a lot of power (a little flat in the midrange, but torquey on the lowside and strong on top) for their size. The frame geometry lends itself well to a cafe conversion. Parts are cheap and available (especially when considering that nearly everything swaps with a 500T, the 450's ugly cousin that no one wants). And I also just happen to think torsion bars are cool.

I say go for it.

A
 

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The 450s with, let's call them, "higher flow" pipes out the back sound friggen cool.

Please note that I am biased (note the sig).

the 4's definitely have a wider aftermarket parts availability, and there's no question that I'll own a cb750 at some point.

basically, what Geeto said.

*******************************************************
My CB450 project:
http://www.caferacer.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2827
*******************************************************
 

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I've been really busy doing some consulting on the side, I recently changed jobs, and the addition of my daughter (who's now crawling all over) has kept me busy. Since my garage isn't heated, I can't really paint either.

I have made some progress on the seat, I'll post some updates later.
 

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quote:
One more thing...how many miles are too many?
depends on the bike. The general consensus is that 30-40K gets into high mileage for a 450 because of engine wear. I am sure the 450 owners have more insight as to this.

Cb750s well it depends on the model. for the basic 1969-1976 K bike, if properly maintained 50K is right abut where you start to see major wear on the cam bearings as well as the lobes. Also the gear dogs in the tranny tend to wear down to the point where the shifter may not always be smooth or she might jump out of gear. 1977-78 F bikes usually go 30K (sometimes less) before the valve guides wear out and they begin to smoke a lot. The automatics tend to have the least problems with high mileage (because they are overbuilt) so a 50K cb750A will probably be nicely worn in. I know plenty of cb750s that have over 50K and a few that have 100K and have never been apart so high mileage is more a guideline than a hard and fast rule.

On think to note about japanese bikes is the speedos tend to wear out before the engines so there is also no gaurantee that the mileage is accurate. Foruntatly honda changed the look of their gauges often during a model run and it helps to find a gauge spotters guide (like the one on the SOHC4.net message board) to make sure the gauges are original to the bike.
 

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quote:
Thanks. I'm mostly curious about 450 mileage. So a 20k bike that is in good mechanical shape is not too high?
Shouldn't be, but the exhaust cam surface often goes to crap before that point if the oil is not kept perfectly clean and the engine is allowed to warm up. If you can pull the cam cover before you buy it, do so.

Good used cams are pretty easily available, but you have to pull the motor and strip it down to replace one.

Other than that the motor seems to be pretty durable. I blew mine up but that was with some crazy modifications and not-so-careful riding.

Like someone else said they sound SWEET with a loud pipe.
 
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