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Thread: Identify the bike that best fits this description!

  1. #1

    Identify the bike that best fits this description!

    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:



    or





    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?
    2003 Suzuki SV650S
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  2. #2
    RiderCoach We've stopped counting... LoDownSinner's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! prester_john's Avatar
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    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

  4. #4
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prester_john
    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.
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  5. #5
    Hey guys thanks for the responses. Looks like I failed to be clear when typing this last night at 1am 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.
    2003 Suzuki SV650S
    www.socal-letsride.com
    www.startriding.com - Site for new riders looking for centralized and detailed information

  6. #6
    RiderCoach We've stopped counting... LoDownSinner's Avatar
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    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.

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    Contributor We've stopped counting... Bugguts's Avatar
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    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!
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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! aprilmaybe's Avatar
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    To steal one of Ray's pics....
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  9. #9
    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.



    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

  10. #10
    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! prester_john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg
    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

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