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Author Topic: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?  (Read 669 times)

Offline cdirk

  • Posts: 11
Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« on: Oct 02, 2017, 15:47:53 »
I know...its another one of those which bike threads. I am hoping I dont get pummeled for asking. I am planning my first Cafe build. Looking for a good platform to start with, I would like to use a bike from the 90's or early 2000's. I dont want a bike thats too old. I am 6'2" 225 lbs. So anything under 750CC's is out of the question. Bikes I am considering.

1. BMW K100 or K75 but prefer bigger engine in the 100. (Seems like a fairly simple bike to convert)
2. Suzuki bandit 1200 I know this one would require some modification to make the seat work. (Fast bike)
3. Suzuki Katana
4. Kawasaki GPZ 750, 900, or 1100
5. Honda Nighthawk 750

I am open to suggestions on other models. But these are the ones I have been looking at so far. Also, if I needed to do any cutting or welding I have a friend who could handle the job as he is a professional welder.

Basically looking for a bike I can use a stock tank or mojave style tank on, put cafe racer seat on, already has rear sets would be a plus, headlight, speedo mod's., other lights, and handlebar modifications on. Strip it down, take off all unnecessary parts and add the parts needed to cafe the bike.

If I could by a modern bike I would just not in the cards right now with two kids in college. I love the way the BMW Nine T looks.

Let me know what you suggest. Seems like the BMW K100 would be easiest to work with.

Offline Tim

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Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 02, 2017, 17:46:31 »
A quick image search of K100 cafe's tells me go that route.  Nobody was ever fired for buying BMW ;)  I'm biased as a BMW owner, but I think it would be an ideal base.
"Quality . . . you know what it is, yet you don't know what it is. But that's self-contradictory. But some things are better than others, that is, they have more quality. But when you try to say what the quality is, apart from the things that have it, it all goes poof! There's nothing to talk about. But if you can't say what Quality is, how do you know what it is, or how do you know that it even exists? If no one knows what it is, then for all practical purposes it doesn't exist at all. But for all practical purposes it really does exist."

Offline cxman

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Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 02, 2017, 17:59:29 »
i currently have a nighthawk 750 ISH
that  modified it now has monoshock suspension
and 36mm mikuni flatslide carbs
its a nimble and very quick bike a lot of fun to take up the parkway or the snake

1978 CX650 Super Deluxe
1979 XS1100 Special
1974 xl350
1983 cx650 Custom
1973 cb750
1980 cb750
1981 cb650
1982 cb900 c
1974 kawasaki 350 bighorn
1983 GL1100 aspy full dress
1983 GL1100 Nekid
and a bunch of others

Offline Rusnak_322

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Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 02, 2017, 19:09:42 »
Look at a Moto Guzzi Jackal or California. There is some real hidden beauty under those huge tanks and seats. Plus they ride very nicely, have plenty of power and handle great.


Offline cdirk

  • Posts: 11
Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 03, 2017, 09:15:13 »
I was also considering some Buell models. Have even thought about the Buell blast but given its a 500CC single i would need to hop up the engine to get some power out of it. 515 Kit or 600 kit plus cams and headwork is over a grand. A-lot of money to put into a blast. But you can get em for around $1,000 in decent shape. So even with engine work and cafe racer parts it would probably be less than $3K into the bike.

I will take a look at the Moto Guzzi's models you mention above.
« Last Edit: Oct 03, 2017, 09:20:51 by cdirk »

Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 03, 2017, 11:51:50 »
Funny you mentioned Buell! I'm in the middle of a Buell blast build myself. I'm a bit smaller than you so boring out may not be needed for my build... Don't laugh but we ripped the blast apart nearly 5 yrs ago and we still aren't finished! She's gettin close though... Did something totally radical with the frame which is finally getting powder coated...

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Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 03, 2017, 12:07:38 »
By the way this is my first as well. I bought the 01 Buell and rode it a few months b4 taredown... Only parts we kept were the engine and wiring harness. Front forks are cbr1000, swingarm Buell lightning, all else custom. I'll start a thread of the build when I get a chance;-) good luck on your build where ever you go! Cheers

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Offline cdirk

  • Posts: 11
Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #7 on: Oct 03, 2017, 12:15:34 »
Yah, the blast does look like a good platform to build on other than the engine being small. I read a few people saying on another forum that a 515kit, stage 2 headwork, and cam is close to an 1200XL in power. Power to Weight being what it is on the blast.

But the other buells look like good choices too. The pricing on buells is down alot of people dont seem interested in them. I see them for under $3K up here. Could probably pick one up for $2000 - $2500. They are pretty fast. I have a 1200XL now that I ride,  but looking to keep that as is.

The buell cyclone, lightning, XB models look like good choices.

Love that buell blast build you are doing. Lines are nice. They are so cheap right now to pickup its hard to ignore them for some modern technology and using as a cafe build.

Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #8 on: Oct 03, 2017, 15:35:10 »
Thanks for the kudos! I picked her for around $1800 from a college student... Believe it or not it was too big for her!... She was about 4'  10" Asian girl... I wish I had another bike to ride whilst building this one but hey you can't always get what ya want;-)

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Offline cdirk

  • Posts: 11
Re: Which bike for Cafe Racer Build?
« Reply #9 on: Oct 03, 2017, 16:14:06 »
I dont think I could go without another bike to ride, unless something forced me into that situation. I would drive a rust bucket or dirt bike converted for the road if i had to, just to have something to ride while my project bike was in pieces.