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Discussion Starter #1
So after speaking with some people and taking their advice and input into consideration. I've started to look for something that's already running. So I can actually get out and ride and not stare at my project with a handful of hope and maybe some beer for two years, because let's be honest while projects are fun riding is where it's at.

So I have started cruising the CL posts for something that has some value to it and possibly rideable in the near forseable future.

This is one that kind of interests me at the moment.
gs550 motorcycle/ cafe racer

Your thoughts are welcome.
 

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That bike should be shit.

your goal should be to find a stock bike and keep it that way.
This isn't to say that you aren't ready for some kick ass bullshit look.
But stock gives so a massively important and often overlooked item....a manual...
which a stock bike you can reference a manual and get a base line of how the bike works and runs. You will develop an eye and just "know" the bike better.

starting with a hacked up pile of junk will only lead to chancing your dick around trying get it to kinda run.

That pile you linked has almost every hipster trap in the book.
-shitty pods to ensure it doesn't run right
-cut exhaust to piss everyone in town off.
-no fenders to make the ride dirty and cause fork flex.
-"open triangle" to raise the CG, have a poorly installed battery and probably electrical gremils
-cheap junky clubmans to make the bike uncomfortable
-no rearsets to prove the "builder" was a lazy jerk off
-no blinkers so you get pulled over
-wires hanging everywhere to make sure you don't ride much
-side mounted and none lite plate, lazy and no night riding.
-poorly covered and installed seat.
ect ect ect

does have dyna coils, I'm sure that was a mistake.
do the GS bikes not like the lower ohm coils the same way the CB bikes don't?
 

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Run the opposite direction from that bike as fast as you can.

as a general rule don't buy someone else's bodge of a cafe racer until you have a lot more experience with bikes..in this case the po cut the rear frame so to me its junk, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. The GS550 generally isn't a bad bike (a little small for you) but that just has too many issues going on.

My my better suggestion for your search is rather than take a shotgun approach where you fire aimless at CL and hope you hit something good, focus your search on two or three models of bikes and then try to find a really good deal on one of those. You also want something with an aftermarket. To that end a SOHC cb750, xs650, sportster, kz900/1000 are all good choices. some choices that still have a pretty good aftermarket but not great are gs750, DOHC cb750F supersport, basically any late 70's early 80's superbike.

A good rule of thumb is to look at what's being raced in vintage classes at AHRMA and WERA and use that as a pattern for what you want to build.
 

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for your size the superbikes from the late 70's and early 80's are really a better fit. They are as big as freight trains and almost as heavy, but they won't look like brit bikes from the 50's.

here is the 1979 cb750F my brother rides (and I used to own):


This is the kind of "Cafe racer" I remember as a kid in the 80's, big fuck off superbikes. It doesn't look impressive next to say a GSXR but when you compare it to a stock 1979 cb750F....

cb750f6.jpg
you can see there is a lot more going on than just an emgo fairing and some bars.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
This looks like it would make a good street tracker, I don't mind that at all. I'm not all about the café racer I do like their look but I'm not set on that. I think I told Geeto that I like dirt trackers and this kind of reminds me of them. I want something that can be made to handle well with the benefit of some take off speed and the 1000 should really have that. Not that I'll need that speed but it's nice to know it's there.
 

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If you want a dirt tracker buy an older Evo sportster or an xs650 and give phil little a call for one of his kits. I happen to love his 650 storm kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Up to a grand, it doesn't have to be beautiful by any means. In fact I prefer dented and dirty give's me something to get my hands dirty with. I don't do a whole heck of a lot after my work day. Most of my time will be spent working on it. At least 3 to 5 hours a day depending on my frustration level. Need a good project.
 

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Why does everything have to play dress up?
never heard anyone say a DOHC Honda would make a good "tracker" base....

smarter er money is on a wire wheeled GS750.
rode one and Geeto's cb750 back to back. Not a lot of seat time, but preferred the GS.
but then again i did just buy a cb1100f.
 

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There aren't that many vintage bikes running around anywhere to be so concerned with looks and such.
They all ride differently and are tools for different jobs.
figure out what job you want to do bad get a bike to do that.
and then repeat until you find something you really enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What do you think of this one?

Honda CB | eBay

After looking at the pictures I notice that there are no air filters and the swing arm was changed so they could put on spoked wheels. I thought that mag wheels helped with handling (head scratch)?
 

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It is a k bike, k bikes all have spoked wheels, only the 77-78 f bikes have mags (and dual disc from the factory).

Still lll it is a bit of a hodge poge because the rear wheel is off an earlier bike and the seat is off something else entirely. Bikes are the kind of thing you need to see in person, buying off eBay guarantees you getting burned.
 

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Also the seller has no fucking clue what he has. Those are 77-78 k bike side covers, those are not comstar wheels, the exhaust is a cb750f header with a Vance and Hines muffler (dint know what he means "no manifolds").

it isn't terrible but anything the seller says can't be trusted.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You guys know the parts as soon as you see them. I'm learning to look for what's missing/has been changed so dramatically there's no hope of me fixing it or is just, well bad.
 

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Did anyone happen to notice on the GS 550 ad that he posted pics of an assembled bike but in the text makes it clear it is a basket case that needs to be put back together?:)
 

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Plenty of other options on CL.
stop being so concerned about spending zero dollars.
stuff costs money, and if you can't afford to play you can't play.

a $1500 bike that is on the road is half the price of a $1000 pile of shit.
 

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You guys know the parts as soon as you see them. I'm learning to look for what's missing/has been changed so dramatically there's no hope of me fixing it or is just, well bad.
Being able to spot parts on sight is something that comes with time and experience. As I said before I have owned a lot of these bikes and spent a lot of time around them so there is little I haven't seen. If I were considering it I would show up at the sellers house with a battery, a compression tester, a plug wrench, multimeter, and various other bits and bobs to test to see if the engine is making any funny noises and the electrical system is working. The engine is the important part, if you have to crack open a cb750 engine it will cost you about a grand in parts to start. I'm never really concerned with low compression (below 100) unless it is significantly low (below 90psi). With cb750s they make oil pressure like a car (40psi) so it is harder to get a bad engine, but you have to wonder, if the bike was working as it should, why did the person stop riding it - ie usually bikes get laid up for a reason and that reason is something broke.

Considering this his bike has been down to the frame, that means everything has been off of it, so something else I would check is to see if there are any missing bolts or things not put back on properly. Hardware is one if the hardest things to track down for a bike esp if you don't have one to match it up for size. There are a lot for special bolts in a motorcycle, e.g. Shouldered bolts, special length, strange thread pitch, etc, so you have to know what is supposed to be there when you look at the gaping maw of a hole without a bolt.
 
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