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Cafe Racer or Bobber?

brungeman

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Jan 17, 2006
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da Burgh
So I found a nice cb550 on CL for a pretty good price. It doesn't have a title, but the present owner has the name of the last registered owner. Is it hard to get a title that way?

I have been thinking about a project bike. I have looked at countless sites, and drooled over hundreds of peoples build pics, and think that the 2 options are the Cafe or Bobber style.

Bobber - Cheaper due to less finishing needed.
Cafe - more due to fabbing of tank, seat, rear-sets and probably have to re-chrome a bunch of it.

Any of you that have undertaken a project like this or just wanna give some opinions?
 

brungeman

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Jan 17, 2006
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da Burgh
cafe stuff here.
benjies is one of the sites I have been researching! FVCKING unreal stuff on there. Not too out of line price wise either! if you started with a nice ride, for a minimal input for tank and seat pan, some fabbing up of rear sets, you could have a pretty nice ride.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
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SF
Good question.

As much as I hate Harley, I like their new Iron 883 commercial. Go bob it.
 

drkenan

anti-dentite
Oct 1, 2006
3,443
0
west asheville
I had a cb650 converted to cafe a few years back. It was expensive to make the conversion and very time consuming and I could never get it to run right. Finally I checked compression and 2 cylinders were reading low so I traded it to my friend who parted it out.

I would do it again if you have a solid platform to start with. Make sure it's running well before you strip it down (assuming you're going to powdercoat the frame) and label where all your bolts go, etc. I stripped mine down in about 2 hours and didn't have the bolts sorted so it was a major PITA to put back together.

It really depends on how far you want to go with the project. You should definitely beef up the motor while its out. Let me know if you want more info.
 

skatetokil

Turbo Monkey
Jan 2, 2005
2,384
0
DC/Bluemont VA
The CB is not a good candidate for a bobber. The frame is all cafe racer.

If you decide you would rather do a bobber, we should swap bikes...

I have my 454 running pretty well now but it's a little small for me at 6'3.

Seen some sick bobs done with it though:

 

stevew

unique white person
Sep 21, 2001
32,252
3,077
google image "bratstyle motorcycle"....



i think honda's look better as cafe bikes...just because of the engine....
 

Sonic Reducer

Monkey
Mar 19, 2006
501
0
seattle worshington
every moron slapping a hardtail, some spiderwebs and ironcrosses onto a beater jap bike then painting it flat black and calling it a bobber has to be the lamest trend in motorcycles yet. oh, dont forget the red rims and wide whites. news flash: a 70's jap bike, a 4cyl at that, will never be a bobber. better yet is those complete hack jobs of a bike that is just the stock frame cut behind the shock mounts and a single seat slapped on top. the only real bobbers are the ones that came hardtail from the factory.

cafes can be cool when done well and with an eye towards performance, functionality and simplicity rather than just looks.

OP: if you get that thing spend what money you do have on making it mechanically dialled, not on changing the looks however tempting it may be. there will be one fewer bastardized old bikes out there and you'll have a better riding experience for it. put some low bars on it, maybe some lo-pro turn signals and call it good. a clean, old, stock-ish bike is way more impressive than some hacked up piece of junk bobber or cafe.
 
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jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,133
2,955
Portland, OR
Yeah, what fool hacks up a perfectly good jap bike?





Oh yea, I do. Make it like you want it, **** everyone else.
 

brungeman

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Jan 17, 2006
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da Burgh
Well, I had 2 candidate bikes yesterday... and only one today! LOL snooze = lose. The more expensive one (650) with title, mechanically sound and a good runner, sold last night. The less expensive but great start for a project is here.
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/1656594550.html


SteveW, I agree that I4 bikes look better as café and single and doubles can be either. Thanks for the input.

Sonic Reducer. Real bobbers were just hacked bikes… not HT from the factory. My loose interpretation of it is Any stock frame with either removed fenders or shortened fenders is a considered a bobber. A frame that has been hacked that still is in the bobber style would be considered a “chopped bob” or “short bob”? or some variation of those terms… to be honest I couldn’t care less about what it is called. If you put the time and work into doing “IT” what ever “IT” is… you deserve some respect. I don’t care if you like the style or not.

Anyway a good quote I came across is this…
The chopper bobber, in essence, became a unique expression of the self. Usually the backyard mechanic's first move was to create a bopper chopper by removing the front and rear fenders. As usual, the source of the genius behind the unique look of bobber choppers as we know today was the amateur mechanic.

and JimmyDean as always has good advice and fits that personal expression statement to a T! :thumb:
 

brungeman

I give a shirt
Jan 17, 2006
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da Burgh
Depends on what you want to do.

Cafe racers are pretty but uncomfortable if you actually want to drive a few hundred miles. Always wanted one, hated it when I got it.

Harleys are ugly, imitation Harleys are uglier.
I have a nice Moto Guzzi that I just don't want to beat up any more. I will either find a new more accessable storage space for it, or sell it to someone who will use it more, and then put this project together. But I want a commuter bike as well (37miles one way) is eating up gas! I would like to get a BMW f650 or SV650 something along those lines for commuting, and have this project bike for fun runs.

what cafe did you have?

I would love to do a TRITON or pick up a nice Dick Mann Gold Star. :thumb:
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,133
2,955
Portland, OR
and JimmyDean as always has good advice and fits that personal expression statement to a T! :thumb:
I took so much heat when I built my R1. Everything from "how could you ruin..." to "Why would you want to change...". But anyone who tried to ride with me quickly understood. Not only was it personal expression, but I made it to be what I considered the perfect street bike. Power/handling/performance/comfort.

I would love to do a cafe bike someday. The head mechanic at Motocorsa rebuilt a salvaged Triumph Thruxton that is sick. I need to lose some weight first, though. Anything short of 900cc right now is asking too much of a motor to tote my fat ass around.
 

brungeman

I give a shirt
Jan 17, 2006
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da Burgh
I took so much heat when I built my R1. Everything from "how could you ruin..." to "Why would you want to change...". But anyone who tried to ride with me quickly understood. Not only was it personal expression, but I made it to be what I considered the perfect street bike. Power/handling/performance/comfort.
It reminds me of the awesome RZ's. It is really classic looking and full of brute force!
my first bike was a RD350b that thing was a ripper. not the best looking, but a ripper. I stupidly sold it and took out a loan on a 1993 suzuki gs500e that RD would run circles around the GS! I loved the look of the RZ though, props for bringing those style cues around again.
 

brungeman

I give a shirt
Jan 17, 2006
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da Burgh
I always loved Morini's! there are just so few around. It is easier on my conscience to build a bike and beat it than beat such a sweet piece of riding history.

 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,133
2,955
Portland, OR
Looks familiar:
Mine wasn't THAT stock when I bought it. :D

Never should have sold it. I will build another very soon.

OG, I need to get some wheels for my YZ real bad. I will try to get the DMV to give me a plate next month and go from there. My 450F would be a beast on the street.
 

skatetokil

Turbo Monkey
Jan 2, 2005
2,384
0
DC/Bluemont VA
Dave, rode an SV650 and it will probably by my next bike unless I get a dual sport. Sweet rigs and not expensive at all. ~$2000 for a 1gen carb model.