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  #1  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:04 AM
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I'm looking for a project bike. Can you help me decide?!

As the title says, I'm looking for a project bike. I only have about 1 year of riding experience and I purchased an '03 Buell XB9S for my first bike. I know people have pretty defined opinions on these bikes but let's just say that I love it and will not be getting rid of it and leave it at that. It is THE bike that I'd wanted for years before I got my license. My dad got his license before I did and I spent quite a while riding on his spare bike (Honda Shadow 750) with him to get some practice in before I bought my own. These are really the only bikes I've ever ridden.

Part of my goal is to end up with a second bike so my dad and I can go for rides when he comes over to visit or if any of my friends with licenses feel like going for a cruise, we can. Moreso though, I'm interested in getting a bike that I can completely overhaul and customize.

I'm having a very hard time figuring out what type of bike I should get. For instance, currently, I'm looking at a CB360 and an XJ550. The CB is a twin, the XJ550 an inline 4 so it seems like the CB would be more simple to work on since its got two less of everything. Also, it has a kickstart which is something I'd like to have but not a must have. The XJ has a better lb/hp ratio though. Either frame will allow me to do a rear mono-shock setup which is something that I really want to do. Then I came across the XS750 which is a triple, weighs about 60lbs more than the XJ550 but has an even better lb/hp ratio. I know there are a lot of other differences, but this is part of the problem.

Do any of you have suggestions?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:28 AM
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Bobber?
Cafe?
Fighter?
Tribute?
Combination thereof?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:35 AM
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Sorry. Yeah, I'm pretty much looking to do a Cafe Racer but with some of the more modern styling cues I've seen in Street Fighter style bikes. I definitely want a bike from the '70s or early '80s.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:49 AM
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Ugly Duckling to Swan

Morning Wood
Inazuma café racer: "Morning Wood" by Garage Project Motorcycles
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:40 PM
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An awesome site to look at completed bikes and the potential some of them, as well as gain advice is DO THE TON CAFE RACERS
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2013, 04:05 PM
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find an original suzuki katana that needs a resto. a killer bike and way ahead of the competition in the day...even cooler today!
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:12 PM
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I helped a friend with a mild cafe build on a 1976 Yamaha XS 650. Very cool bike with a great aftermarket and it's a vertical twin so it sounds cool.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:26 PM
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You may want to join the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club. Vintage Japanese bikes are gaining popularity as us old farts are buying and restoring the bikes we had as a youth, some of which make for cool cafe racer bikes. Over the last 3 years I have restored a 1970 Honda CL100, 1972 Suzuki TM400, 1972 Kawasaki H2 and 1973 Kawasaki 250 F11; all bikes I owed as a teenager except for the F11.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducman491 View Post
I helped a friend with a mild cafe build on a 1976 Yamaha XS 650. Very cool bike with a great aftermarket and it's a vertical twin so it sounds cool.
I second the XS - it's a Triumph clone -very cool.

I also second the VJMC thing - I have a '67 CL77, and I find the VJMC to be helpful (although I am looking for someone to restore my bike...can't find anyone).
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:26 PM
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CB750 seems to be the most popular bike to cafe these days. Plenty of power and tons of aftermarket parts available.

I personally wouldn't worry about the complexity of a four vs twin, they are not that big of a difference when working on them.

Many of these bikes today are fairly valuable, at least to chop up for a cafe so you are left with a very ratty basket case or one of the forgotten UJMs of the time.

If you could find a GS1000 or GS1100 cheaply it would make a very burly cafe for sure.

I toyed last winter with the idea of building one from a Honda CX500. Shaft drive makes it tougher, but having the Guzzi-like V would be appealing.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:10 AM
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I have been researching the XS650 and agree that they are very interesting and I would love to pick one up. I have been finding it difficult to find one for sale though. Also, I'm hoping to get a bike in the <$750 range which for the models I can find (XJ, GS, GPZ, etc.) isn't really that difficult. Basically I've been using SearchTempest to scour Craigslist and eBay. Do you guys have any suggestions for other places to look? Anyone have or know of someone with a bike sitting around that they want to part with?

I'll definitely look into the VJMC. I've already been reading quite a bit on DoTheTon.com and CafeRacer.net as well as several other model specific sites.

Last edited by walnut; 02-14-2013 at 06:17 AM.
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  #12  
Old 02-14-2013, 02:17 PM
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Great ideas to be found on:

Cafe Racers, Bobbers, Trackers, custom and classic motorcycle parts.

I don't need a second bike collecting dust, but when I lose the itch to go fast, I will definitely get into one.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:54 PM
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I have a BSA cafe...waiting to be finished. I may sell if someone want a fun easy classic project.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:53 AM
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Zxgarage, I'd be very interested in hearing more about your BSA. Do you have any pictures you could post up?

Thanks for all of the suggestions and site links everyone! So much information to digest.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:27 PM
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After more research and consideration of what is available in my area, I've decided to go after a GS550. Eventually, I might pick up a spare engine and replace the top end with one from a GS650 (about a 50% bump in power and almost a direct fit). After I get the mechanicals worked out I *plan* on trying to convert it over to EFI. The goal is for it to be a long term project.

If/when I find a donor I'll post some more information up.

Thanks again to everyone for all the info.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:46 PM
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Now ve vait.

Looking forward to the updates, big and small!


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Old 02-19-2013, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walnut View Post
Zxgarage, I'd be very interested in hearing more about your BSA. Do you have any pictures you could post up?

Thanks for all of the suggestions and site links everyone! So much information to digest.
If you still want see the bike, just send a pm and I will send more info. It's a nice bike but need kick start gear replaced (I already have a new one) and needs some overal tlc. I have a nice seat and fuel tank / fiberglass/ period correct, cafe style.
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  #18  
Old 02-21-2013, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walnut View Post
After more research and consideration of what is available in my area, I've decided to go after a GS550. Eventually, I might pick up a spare engine and replace the top end with one from a GS650 (about a 50% bump in power and almost a direct fit). After I get the mechanicals worked out I *plan* on trying to convert it over to EFI. The goal is for it to be a long term project.

If/when I find a donor I'll post some more information up.

Thanks again to everyone for all the info.
Yes, nice choice! This was my first bike as an adult.
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  #19  
Old 02-22-2013, 01:31 PM
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How about a 1975 BMW R60/6 that has a R75/6 shoehorned into it? Medium patina... needs tlc. Fresh mechanically in most areas.
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  #20  
Old 02-22-2013, 09:14 PM
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Interesting selection of bikes here: Blue Moon Cycle -New -Preowned - Vintage BMW Motorcycles
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