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JC
03-01-2006, 03:10 AM
So I've been thinking about this for quite a long time now... and I'm still not convinced I know what I'm talking about, so bear with me...

I think I want an old bike. There, I've said it. Ideally I'd like to spend 1500 or less depending on condition. I LOVE the mid 70s to mid 80s style CBs and Yamaha specials etc. Not sure if this would qualify as a cafe racer style? Something like these examples:

http://www.xs11.com/pix/80g-1.jpg

or

http://www.motosclassicas70.com.br/750_K_LTD_79.jpg



Ideally if I were to get this it would be something I could tinker with, maybe spruce up a bit etc. The key things are as follows:

1. Mechanically sound model. A "Bulletproof" reputation if you will
2. Availability of parts (relatively speaking to other bikes of this genre)
3. Comfort (compared to my SV, something for potential distance hauls or commuting)
4. Enough engine for a theoretical top speed of at least 100. I'm a bigger guy so it needs to be able to go at 85+ with my weight. Prefer more so I'm not straining the engine. Also would be nice to do two ups.


For you salty olf mechanics out there, does this spark something in your memories? I've kind of had this itch for months. I want to learn more about mechanics and to have a project. I finally have a garage and a backyard. But I also want to ride it with confidence on some 500 miles treks. What do you folks think?

LoDownSinner
03-01-2006, 06:57 AM
If you can find a clean example of a CB550, those made great basic transportation, and took the cafe racer treatment well. For overall parts availablility, a Honda 750 is probably going to be your best bet.

I can't believe you put up a pic of an XS11. I bought an Eleven Special back in '82 and loved it. That thing will definitely carry you and a passenger at your theoretical top speed, even up a mountain (not that I ever did that...).

Avoid the two-strokes like the Yamaha RD350 and the Kawasaki H1 & H2. Consumables for those (pistons, rings, etc.) are getting harder to find.

prester_john
03-01-2006, 08:04 AM
You want to cruise at 85+mph for up to 500 miles on a 20-30 year old bike?

Is $1500 your total budget, or just the purchase price prior to extensive reconditioning/rebuild?

Tom

Greg
03-01-2006, 08:39 AM
You want to cruise at 85+mph for up to 500 miles on a 20-30 year old bike?


I have an 81 KZ1000 that can certainly reach 85+ mph with no issue and I would not have any worries about the bike going 500 miles. Even going 85 mph for 500 miles wouldn't concern me apart from the wear and tear on me. My bike could certainly handle it, I just don't think I could. That is a long time in the saddle...

However I think he is looking for a bike that can do 85 mph when asked as well as provide him with a ride capable of a 500 mile trek. Might be speaking of comfort here as well.

JC
03-01-2006, 11:55 AM
Hey guys thanks for the responses. Looks like I failed to be clear when typing this last night at 1am :D I kind of meant both. I'd like to have a capable speed of 85mph on the interstate in the event that I was off to visit friends who live far away (500 miles away). But really I could make do with one or the other. :)

LDS, thanks for the info! Yeah the XS11 was in craigslist the other day which is actually what inspired me to consider this topic, yet again. Is the CB750 equally as reliable as the 550? I didn't actually meant I would convert it, but rather that was the style to me that best described that era? Maybe half cafe half dirt tracker? What do I know? :) Those CB750s look pretty sharp too, and if they have lots of parts available.....

Good info on the H2 as well, thanks. That's another one I was looking into. Greg, thanks I'll look into the KZ! John, 1500 is just what I wanted to spend on the bike itself prior to any additional work on my end. I didnt want to sink 3000 for a bike that would require another several thousand of in work.

LoDownSinner
03-01-2006, 12:23 PM
Parts for the 750s are probably more available than those for the 550. Reliability would be about the same. I'd stay away from the K1 and K2 (earlier) models. I just mentioned the 550 because to me it's the ideal Japanese cafe racer.

Another down side to the old Kawi 2-strokes is that they didn't handle well. Left turns at speed would drag the pipes pretty quickly, and end up levering the back tire off the ground if you kept pushing. Also the frames flexed so badly that it was tough holding a steady line in a turn.

The XS11 is an awesome bike. Not exactly modern, but they were around 100 hp, IIRC. Being an early shaft bike, mine had a tendancy to pull to the right during wheelies -- uhhh, at least that's what I read in the magazines.

A KZ in good shape would be a great find. Those are direct descendants to the first Inline 4 superbike, the Z1.

Bugguts
03-01-2006, 12:33 PM
Oh JC, your speaking to my heart man! I love those bikes! Give me chrome fenders and trumpet exhausts! My SR250 won't fill your bill, but her styling makes my heart sing!http://www.beginnerbikers.org/gallery//files/8/1/7/SR250withSeatedBugguts_thumb.jpg (http://www.beginnerbikers.org/gallery//showimage.php?i=461)

aprilmaybe
03-01-2006, 01:33 PM
To steal one of Ray's pics....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/aprilmaybe/020406_cbx.jpg

mediajackl
03-01-2006, 03:22 PM
How old is this Kawsaki? Forty years? Thirty?
How 'bout six -- the year 2000 W650 retro throwback.
If I was collecting bikes, this would be one -- an old-school cool bike that is new enough to not fall apart or present major parts issues.

http://www.beginnerbikers.org/gallery/files/2/6/4/retrokawa.jpg

But the Motorcycle.com writeup says its fun, but not so great for distances...

"...It's a retro classic that draws its styling from bikes of yore and then adds a bit of modern flair in mostly the right places. But some things just weren't meant to be improved upon...."

http://www.motorcycle.com/mo/mckaw/00w650.html

prester_john
03-01-2006, 03:25 PM
I have an 81 KZ1000 that can certainly reach 85+ mph with no issue and I would not have any worries about the bike going 500 miles. Even going 85 mph for 500 miles wouldn't concern me...
It's not a question of the capability of the design but rather the condition of the individual specimen.

I always liked the 750 and 850 Yamaha triples from that era. Back before the Japanese companies wanted to be Harley Davidson, they wanted to be BMW and Moto Guzzi, and a lot of their bikes, like those Yammies, had shaft drive.

Tom

JC
03-01-2006, 03:55 PM
That's a sharp looking bike. Hard to come by and expensive though.

April, I don't want to have to do yoga to straddle the bike ;)


Cool! Well I will look for some XS11s, (maybe XS750?) CB750s and the KZ1000. Of course now that I'm keeping an eye out they won't show up on craigslist anymore ;)

hig4s
03-01-2006, 06:18 PM
All the bikes mentioned are very nice old bikes, but might I suggest you spend a little more and look at Kaw ZR-7,, ZR-7S, ZRX1100 and ZRX1200

these machines are the old school air cooled engines, on more modern frames with much better suspension, with updated electronics (no points to gap), and have been still in Kaws production lines up to 2003 meaning parts are no problem.. Or if you do go with an older machine make it one of the two these machines are based on which will mean parts should be no problem. See my avatar,, I have a 2003 ZR-7S the last year sold by Kaw the engine has an oil cooler and more modern electronics but is based on the 1973 GPz engine,,

But what every older style bike you get check out this web site http://www.z1enterprises.com/site-guide.aspx

And just to throw one more caveat in the mix.. check out this bike.

www.sport-touring.net/forums/showthread.php?t=77278

aprilmaybe
03-01-2006, 10:03 PM
Jim suggests this one....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/aprilmaybe/HondaCB400.jpg

Honda 400 four Super Sport

I've always liked early Goldwings minus the fairings, now thats a muscle bike..

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/aprilmaybe/Honda-Goldwing-GL1000K2-77-1.jpg

Take a look at this site..
http://www.vintagebike.co.uk/index.htm
Thats where both of the pics came from.

JC
03-01-2006, 10:16 PM
Oooh those are sharp. I really like the goldwing :)

LoDownSinner
03-01-2006, 10:25 PM
Holy crap!!! You guys are making me feel really old...

I had a Goldwing like that. Used to go bombing up and down the PCH on it back in the 70's. It was pretty fast, and handled OK.

I'm just gonna take my Geritol and fall asleep in the rocking chair now...

JC
03-01-2006, 10:30 PM
Haha. LDS, you're exactly the person I need in this scenario! Wisdom is king ;)

Now that I have my list to look for, I can then ask more questions based on what I find ;)

In fact, just to spite me... look what shows up in CL today? http://losangeles.craigslist.org/mcy/138203418.html It's only a spite because it's more than I'll spend ;)

Logan
03-01-2006, 11:21 PM
I've always liked early Goldwings minus the fairings, now thats a muscle bike..

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/aprilmaybe/Honda-Goldwing-GL1000K2-77-1.jpg




I love the old naked wings.

Was going to post one, but you beat me to it.

Here's a sweet looking 79:
"74,000 miles. Runs good. Carbs balanced. New battery. Rebuilt front brakes with new pads. Newer tires.

It comes with all the Vetter equipment, saddlebags, trunk, fairing and fairing lowers. Plus, two repair manuals.

asking $1800.00"


Sorry I can't post a link, it's on a private site. Owned by a rider with a good rep. there. Lives in Nevada I think.


I'd probably buy it, but there's a lot of other things I need more than a 3rd bike.

LoDownSinner
03-01-2006, 11:23 PM
Hehehe... Nice bike.

Know why it probably has the Kerker exhausts? The stock exhausts on those were really bad about rusting out. If you find a non-running bike with pristine stock exhausts, you can probably eBay them for a nice profit.

If the seller is being honest about the recent work and the condition of the machine, that's actually not a bad deal.

I've got to agree with hig4s about the Kawis, though. You're probably not going to find better parts availability. And, like anything mechanical -- Murphy says that the harder it is to get, the more likely it is to break.

Going from your SV to one of those old bikes is going to make you really appreciate the handling of the SV.

I've got some 70's dirt bikes, and parts are always fun to try and locate. Hehehe... Try telling some young kid at the parts counter that you need something for a YZ400F two-stroke. He'll argue that there's no such thing, cause everyone knows the 'F' mean four stroke...

aprilmaybe
03-02-2006, 02:04 PM
lookie what showed up today....
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/mcy/138390001.html

1979 Honda GL1000
down in the OC

Bugguts
03-02-2006, 02:42 PM
My ERC instructor rode a W650. I drooled all over that bike. This is a great thread. My age is showing.

JC
03-02-2006, 03:37 PM
That's sharp, and probably in tremendous condition. But it's too much for me right now :( In a few months I could swing it.

I'm starting to lean more and more to one in good condition, which almost defeats my original purpose of getting something to learn to tinker on. But thet're so pretty! :D

Bugguts
03-02-2006, 04:25 PM
Hey, don't dismay, even "good condition" will need things replaced! After taking the 81 on the Snowball run, I'll be putting a new clutch cable on her! She just recently got a new turn signal flasher. Never knew what she looked like without her gas tank until then. 25 years makes parts die! Rejoice!

aprilmaybe
03-02-2006, 05:34 PM
Don't care what kind of condition its in, you get a 25 year old bike and it will need tinkering.

JC
03-02-2006, 05:42 PM
Hehe. true. April check your email for the response from the guy with the GoldWing

prester_john
03-02-2006, 05:56 PM
A KZ in good shape would be a great find. Those are direct descendants to the first Inline 4 superbike, the Z1.
Or would the first inline 4 superbike be the 1904 FN (http://users.pandora.be/FN.oldtimers/pict%2002%20to%2024/331.JPG)? :D

Tom

hig4s
03-02-2006, 06:40 PM
Holy crap!!! You guys are making me feel really old...

I had a Goldwing like that. Used to go bombing up and down the PCH on it back in the 70's. It was pretty fast, and handled OK.

I'm just gonna take my Geritol and fall asleep in the rocking chair now...

You youngsters and your fandangled fancy 6 cyclinder bikes :smug:


I've never owned a bike with more than 4 cyclinders or more than 750cc. But I think my next machine may be a new 1800 'wing. I've also thought about trying to find a decent Yamaha XS650 to play with again, that was my first street only machine back in 78. Still have fond memories of it.

JC
03-02-2006, 06:48 PM
Here are some pics of the beast april linked to, except now she's wearing her gear. LDS.... how big is this bike? Seat height etc compared to modern bikes..... It looks big with all that nonsense but at the same time it somehow doesn't...


This was the guy's response: "The bike has 74,000 miles on it. I'm
the third owner. I personally know that last two owners. The bike has
been well taken care since new.

Yes, the bike pulls strong in 4th and 5th. There are no problems riding
at highway speeds, even "full dressed" and "two-up". I've toured the
last two years on this bike, all over California, without any issues.

The bike is currently in the "undressed" form."

remy_marathe
03-02-2006, 07:03 PM
Or would the first inline 4 superbike be the 1904 FN?
LMAO!

I like those old GL's; there's one that's always parked down by the waterfront here. It's rusted from being a "harbor bike", uncovered in the salty air, and ooogly because of the fairing, but underneath it all is one classy looking bike.

LoDownSinner
03-02-2006, 07:32 PM
You youngsters and your fandangled fancy 6 cyclinder bikes :smug:
My Wing was a four cylinder...

hig4s
03-04-2006, 07:24 PM
My Wing was a four cylinder...


Oh yea, I guess that earlier talk about the old CBX 6 had me confused,, Wings didn't go to 6 until they up'ed to 1500 in the 80s.

Logan
03-04-2006, 08:21 PM
lookie what showed up today....
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/mcy/138390001.html

1979 Honda GL1000
down in the OC

That's the same bike I mentioned earlier.



It looks like a good buy to me.

JC
03-05-2006, 12:04 PM
It does to me as well. I'm moving this weekend so the timing probably just isn;t right. Does anyone know what the seat height is like on those things?

LowDownSinner...... Your avatar... I haven't seen Devil Doll in YEARS! WOW that's funny!

JC
03-19-2006, 01:08 AM
I think I've settled on the Honda CB series... 750, 900, or 1100. Dad wants in on the project to. The search begins in earnest at the beginning of next month!! :)

yossarian
03-20-2006, 10:52 PM
Avoid the two-strokes like the Yamaha RD350 and the Kawasaki H1 & H2. Consumables for those (pistons, rings, etc.) are getting harder to find.

I can't speak for the widow makers, but the racing death mill is the predessor to the Banshees, and many parts, including pistons and rings are interchangable, though not identical (upgrade!) Most parts are still available at dealers, and also vintage two stroke specific shops. Not that I'm kinda sorta maybe thinking about picking one up once summer comes or anything:p

I still wouldn't reccomend one though for that description. 2 stroke bikes are sufficiently different that you really have to want one specifically to put up with their quirks.