New Member from LA


Hello all,

My name is Vic and I am brand new to the hobby as well as this forum. Right now I'm saving up to buy my first bike and do my first build. I don't have a lot of money but after reading a few threads before registering I get the feeling I don't need to throw cash at my project in order for it to turn into a good bike (which is a relief). I've done a bit of research into what a cafe racer bike is and how it came about but I want to learn more, especially from guys who have decades of experience.

That said which bikes would be good for a beginner that after riding for a few months I can turn into a good cafe racer? What magazines, websites, blogs, or other forums do you guys know of that could help me learn more about motorcycle mechanics and this hobby? All suggestions/comments/thoughts are welcome. I might be a newbie but I want to learn how to do things the right way.


Staff member
Any smaller Honda CB is always a good start - CB360 is a popular choice, as are the CB500/550 4 cylinders. 4 cylinders are twice the price of 2 to rebuild, buy carb parts for etc, so keep that in mind.

First thing is deciding where you're going to ride, what style of riding etc. For a 'cafe racer' I'd avoid the bigger bikes, and you'll likely pay higher insurance on those anyhow - not sure how it works in California.

2 stroke vs 4 is another point to consider. I've never owned a 2 stroke, so don't know much about them. But you'll find lots of Yamaha RD and other 2 stroke fans here.

Do any of your friends ride? If you can buy a running bike, you'll be better off. If you can have it checked out by a local mechanic, even better and worth the investment unless you're buying a $100 bike. A bike can run but still need $1,000's of internal engine work. So having someone with some experience check it out, get a feel for compression, listen for any death-rattles is always handy.

Step 0 - are you licensed? Take a course.

Step 1 - get a bike, tune it up, make it safe and get it on the road. New tires (no Firestones), new brakes, new cables, check steering bearings... All the stuff that isn't fun, doesn't make it look better, but is going to keep you around for step 3

Step 2 - ride a lot - as much as you can. Empty parking lots, small side roads. Practice your low-speed handling. Get comfortable on the bike.

Step 3 - ride some more

Step 4 - fix whatever has broken on the bike

Step 5 - start thinking about making modifications to the bike



New Member
Happy D Day.. (Dad's)
Just bought this motor for cb350 and it says the compression was 145 psi on the right and 140 psi on the left. I installed it & tried to kick it over, but it only ran on one cylinder.. after spending 2 years
working on it whenever I could.. it still won't kick over.. and now I remember early this spring in march? or April? I was kicking it over then .. it locked up.. I thought maybe the cylinders had too much gas.. but I had to take cover off to get to the timing nut (14mm) to see if it will turn in reverse
... which it did.. so I rocked it back and forth with the 14mm wrench until it was free the kick start again..

N_E_way... & now when I put my thumb over the left spark plug hole and turned motor over there is no compression..... So My turmoil just got worse... some one said if I swap condensers maybe the problem will go to the other side.. well it won't start.. rigght side tries to start.. but left side pops really loud once and a while.. I hate to take motor back out of the bike as i am on disability and can't lift very much.. i still have the motor that came out of it, but what parts can I use from it?? I wish I could get someone to look at it while it is still on the bike.. might just be a dead battery, I tried to start it the charger on and charging battery and still no go.. Is it a No or is it a Go? some one please help me and I will try not to insult your intellegence...? Yeah? Happy Paws Day

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