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Opinion wanted on Cafe Racer
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Opinion wanted on Cafe Racer - August 3, 2013, 06:49 PM

How's it going?

So I'm looking at maybe getting into the Cafe Racer scene, and just wanted some insight from people in the know. I'm looking at spending around $1500+/-, and want something that's in good running condition, not a project. I'm not picky on how much custom fabrication or new paint the bike has, I wouldn't even mind a stock, but in good shape, 70's CB bike.

Is $1500 a realistic budget to get a decent shaped bike? It seems most of the cafes are CB 350s or 360s, are these fast enough to cruise at ~75mph?

Here's a nice example I found on CL: http://frederick.craigslist.org/mcy/3978685233.html


Pending everything working well, is that a good bike at $1900?

Thanks


...And Boom Goes the Dynamite!

cbr f3= sold
636= gone
r6= sold
cbr 1k= sold
vino 125= stolen
zuma= yutt uggh
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August 3, 2013, 07:41 PM

No idea but I like the green.
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August 3, 2013, 07:42 PM

If I had $1900 I would grab that in a second!


ALL MY HEROES ARE RUSSIAN...GO CAPS!

Well you see, Norm, itís like thisÖA herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.-Cliff Claven

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August 3, 2013, 08:40 PM

Paging David636


'04 F4i - Sold
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August 3, 2013, 09:36 PM

350F is gonna take a lot of road to get up to 75

get a 750 for the power alone.
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August 4, 2013, 06:33 AM

If you are going to own a vintage as a an only bike, you best get your mechanical skills up. Although very easy to work on, 30+ yr old technology and parts will leave you stranded at some point. The main issues are the carbs and old ignitions. If you plan on cruising "safely" at 75mph, you best bet stick with something at least 650cc or greater. I'd say your best bet would be a xs650, cb750 or something similar and make sure the last owner knew what they were doing. Oh and don't forget, those old tech drum/disc brakes wont' stop worth a crap, so if have to ride extra cautiously.

Last edited by BrianRacerboy; August 4, 2013 at 06:36 AM..
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August 4, 2013, 07:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluhokie12 View Post
350F is gonna take a lot of road to get up to 75

get a 750 for the power alone.
Yeah, I did a bit of research and it looks like a 350 is a bit underpowered for how I will be riding it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianRacerboy View Post
If you are going to own a vintage as a an only bike, you best get your mechanical skills up. Although very easy to work on, 30+ yr old technology and parts will leave you stranded at some point. The main issues are the carbs and old ignitions. If you plan on cruising "safely" at 75mph, you best bet stick with something at least 650cc or greater. I'd say your best bet would be a xs650, cb750 or something similar and make sure the last owner knew what they were doing. Oh and don't forget, those old tech drum/disc brakes wont' stop worth a crap, so if have to ride extra cautiously.
Thanks for the input.

I've retrained my focus to a larger bike. I've seen some nice '80/81 CB900s for sale for good prices, but I'm thinking these are going to be pigs (616 lbs).

I'll keep my eyes open for something in the middle.


...And Boom Goes the Dynamite!

cbr f3= sold
636= gone
r6= sold
cbr 1k= sold
vino 125= stolen
zuma= yutt uggh
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otb
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August 4, 2013, 02:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianRacerboy View Post
If you are going to own a vintage as a an only bike, you best get your mechanical skills up. Although very easy to work on, 30+ yr old technology and parts will leave you stranded at some point. The main issues are the carbs and old ignitions. If you plan on cruising "safely" at 75mph, you best bet stick with something at least 650cc or greater. I'd say your best bet would be a xs650, cb750 or something similar and make sure the last owner knew what they were doing. Oh and don't forget, those old tech drum/disc brakes wont' stop worth a crap, so if have to ride extra cautiously.
Points and condenser ignitions. Coils, wires, boots.
Parts on those and the carbs are easy-peasy. Think Sudco.
The SOHC Hondas were 100K motors, they were so understressed.
As far as cruising speed and ability..I put 27,000 miles on my 380 Suzuki (same wt and power) in 2 years, rode most of the lower 48. Depends on what you want.

The 350 Four is less "desirable" than the 400 Four (a nice example will bring stupid prices). If what you want is a true "cafe racer", then look at used RD350's ....you can find clean examples for around 2K and leave it stock or mod the piss out of it. Either way, you'll have an example of the preeminent cafe' bike.

The Honda 500/550 Four didn't have that much more poop than the 400F, and had a whole bunch more weight. The 750 and 550 Honda's handled like crap, brand new. Every year, the bikes got faster and faster, and piggier and piggier. And, as you said, the 900 was a lead sled for handling. Not until Kawasaki introduced the KZ650 in 76 did any of the Japanese manufacturers make a mid-to-large sized bike that actually handled.

The GPz bikes were much lighter and handled far better.

If you want a "cafe'" bike, think light.


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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August 5, 2013, 08:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by otb View Post
Points and condenser ignitions. Coils, wires, boots.
Parts on those and the carbs are easy-peasy. Think Sudco.
The SOHC Hondas were 100K motors, they were so understressed.
As far as cruising speed and ability..I put 27,000 miles on my 380 Suzuki (same wt and power) in 2 years, rode most of the lower 48. Depends on what you want.

The 350 Four is less "desirable" than the 400 Four (a nice example will bring stupid prices). If what you want is a true "cafe racer", then look at used RD350's ....you can find clean examples for around 2K and leave it stock or mod the piss out of it. Either way, you'll have an example of the preeminent cafe' bike.

The Honda 500/550 Four didn't have that much more poop than the 400F, and had a whole bunch more weight. The 750 and 550 Honda's handled like crap, brand new. Every year, the bikes got faster and faster, and piggier and piggier. And, as you said, the 900 was a lead sled for handling. Not until Kawasaki introduced the KZ650 in 76 did any of the Japanese manufacturers make a mid-to-large sized bike that actually handled.

The GPz bikes were much lighter and handled far better.

If you want a "cafe'" bike, think light.
Thanks for the tips. Now I just have to find one of these bikes in decent shape for cheap... I'm having a hard time paying a lot of money for a 30+ y/o bike, even though I know that I'll get that money back when I resell it. I just need to make sure I don't end up with a "project".


...And Boom Goes the Dynamite!

cbr f3= sold
636= gone
r6= sold
cbr 1k= sold
vino 125= stolen
zuma= yutt uggh
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August 8, 2013, 09:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by otb View Post
Points and condenser ignitions. Coils, wires, boots.
Parts on those and the carbs are easy-peasy. Think Sudco.
The SOHC Hondas were 100K motors, they were so understressed.
As far as cruising speed and ability..I put 27,000 miles on my 380 Suzuki (same wt and power) in 2 years, rode most of the lower 48. Depends on what you want.

The 350 Four is less "desirable" than the 400 Four (a nice example will bring stupid prices). If what you want is a true "cafe racer", then look at used RD350's ....you can find clean examples for around 2K and leave it stock or mod the piss out of it. Either way, you'll have an example of the preeminent cafe' bike.

The Honda 500/550 Four didn't have that much more poop than the 400F, and had a whole bunch more weight. The 750 and 550 Honda's handled like crap, brand new. Every year, the bikes got faster and faster, and piggier and piggier. And, as you said, the 900 was a lead sled for handling. Not until Kawasaki introduced the KZ650 in 76 did any of the Japanese manufacturers make a mid-to-large sized bike that actually handled.

The GPz bikes were much lighter and handled far better.

If you want a "cafe'" bike, think light.
After a few more days of research the RD350s and RD400s have caught my eye since they look good, have enough power, and are light. I'm probably going to take a look at a couple this weekend, and if I find one in decent shape for a fair price I'll hopefully be bringing it home. I'll keep the thread updated.


...And Boom Goes the Dynamite!

cbr f3= sold
636= gone
r6= sold
cbr 1k= sold
vino 125= stolen
zuma= yutt uggh
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August 9, 2013, 08:59 AM

Cafe bikes are really perfect for around town and city. They can -even a CB350- go on the highway, but you'll be riding at the limits of the bike; which is exciting! ... but not practical.

With that said I rode a 1981 CM400T -2 cylinder, 395cc, 43hp- from Rochester, NY to Baltimore and back. It took about 9 hours each way including frequent breaks. I was going about 80 mph most the time, the bike was SCREAMING. In the end, we both made it through the whole trip.

Long story short, IMO Cafe bikes don't make the best long distance Highway commuter bikes, but are great bikes around town.

Last comment: "Riding a Slow bike Fast is way more fun, than Riding a Fast bike Slow"



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Last edited by pnbell; August 9, 2013 at 09:01 AM..
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CB750
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I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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CB750 - August 13, 2013, 12:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by F3_Chimp View Post
After a few more days of research the RD350s and RD400s have caught my eye since they look good, have enough power, and are light. I'm probably going to take a look at a couple this weekend, and if I find one in decent shape for a fair price I'll hopefully be bringing it home. I'll keep the thread updated.

Not sure if your interested but I will probably be letting go my 1976 CB750 F Super Sport in excellent shape, I'd like $3,500; I know this is out of your budget but thought I'd throw it out there.

Just had the head completely redone at Cycle Exchange - Cycle X - Honda CB750 Chopper Cafe Specialists, the leader in CB750 rebuilds. Below is a list of what was done; PM me if you have more questions but the bike is immaculate and has Kerker exhaust. Posted only picture I have here at work with me.

Labor(more details on their site):
Bore and Hone (deluxe)
Head Option #2


Parts:
Cycle X 2nd (.50) Piston Kit
CX-1 Cam
Cam Chain Tensioner
Cycle X Super Flow Valves (intake and exhaust)
Cycle X Guides (intake and exhaust)
Valve Springs
Super Gasket Top End Kit
d



d




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