Cafe Racer

Discussion in 'Cars, Bikes 'n AFVs' started by skid2, Sep 24, 2011.

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  1. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    The weather forecast is talking about snow in October so if I get fed up reading, writing or freezing. There's an old GPZ 550 in bits it's been there for a while and I had always intended doing something with it (According to Ms Skid2 dumping it in the harbour is an option) So last Sunday in getting the papers as I crossed the garage forecourt I was almost nailed by a fat accountant on a Harley. As he gave me the hard man 'I can do difficult sums look' I looked at what he was on and immediatly thought, go in the opposite direction. Cafe racer, alloy tank rear sets, norton straights (the back won't do clip ons). Paint the whole lot black and add some chequered tape.
    1 it might be fun
    2 it's not a Norton engine so it won't break down regularly (it will only blow up once)
    So Google doesn't seem to be my friend in this case, so is there anyone out there who does cafe racer customising bits. (Not Dunstall I still have nightmares)
  2. Which model of GPz 550 is it?
  3. Ahhhhh...great idea. My first bike "proper bike was a Honda XBR of these..

    A lovely single pot thumper that had great handling for its age. Very sure footed, and a surprising turn of speed.

    When looking for spares I discovered that the sneeky Japs did a "Cafe Racer" version for the Jap market only called, ironically, the GB 500.

    I think it looks lovely. I wish I still had that XBR, was a great bike and would have been a great project to turn into a GB500

    As for cafe racer parts though, the US will be your friend...
    Cafe Racer Fiberglass Seats, Race Pads and Kits, Product Development, Airstream Trailers and all manner of Retro Toys -CafeRace, Inc - 719-685-2475 - Manitou Springs - Colorado
    Finding parts for your Cafe Racer #1 ~  The Return of the Cafe Racers

    Good luck with the project!
  4. Get a copy of "Classic Bike" or something similar and look in the adverts. There are loads of companies out there selling everything the cafe racer enthusiast could need.

    I dont have any such publications to hand at the moment but Ill have a dig around if you can wait.
  5. Something to aim for:


  6. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    The U.S. has some great stuff. The only killer is the postage. At present I'm waiting on a pair of replacement glasses frames. Price was alright postage standard at $37 dollars.

    Can't remember which one it is whether its the one with rear springs or mono. I'll know when I start opening the boxes. It's been stashed in a friends garage for ages. I've never been one to rush into things. When Joey Dunlop won his triple at the TT in 88 and broke Hailwoods record. I liberated a celebratory Honda poster. All the years back and forward bumping into Joey and his manager. I never bothered to get the poster signed (Joey wasn't one for falling off motorcycles) both Joey and David are now gone and the poster was finally framed and put on the kitchen wall last thursday.

    You're right about the XBR being quite the tool. I did ask about about trading the 550 kawa for a 450 honda or an Enfield. No chance on the 450 neither of us had seen one since the late 70s and was swiftly talked out of an Enfield, conversation came around to Jotas, too rattly, too much trouble. Ta for the pics of the Jap Four and the info on Classic Bike mag I have to say it never occurred to me.

    Dog meat that pic looks to be the way I was thinking..........we did consider a Bobber, the japs and aussies do some amazing stuff then I was reminded about piles and potholes.

    Tthanks all keep it coming.
  7. Oh god those shite brakes. My old GPZ 1000 RX was adorned with em and they were crapper than crap. Putting your feet down flinstone style was nearly the only way it'd stop
  8. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    Better than the disc on the 750 waterbucket. I liked the sticker saying 'braking may be impaired in the wet.
  9. Fair play. please keep us updated it would be good to see something like this coming about. their are a load of adverts and people who can steer you to the right places in this mag.

    I got a lot of help from firms advertising there . Sometimes from the oddest of places.

    The best custom seat covers are made by an elderly Jamaican couple in the West Midlands. Would never have found that sort of thing on my own.
  10. Here's one

    Download Classic_Bike_Guide_UK_2011-10S370_HQ.pdf for free on
  11. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    Thank you.
    Ms Skid picked one up last night and gave me the curled eyebrow intend to do what?
    She know s I have form she believed me for four years when I told her that the complete honda 90 rear wheel in the back kitchen was a burglar alarm and needed to be propped up against the back door at night.
  12. Incidentally, linking to another thread, you will be ok because your doner bike is old but this sort of harmless fun, modification/tinkering on a new bike is exactly what is likely to be killed off by proposed Euro legislation.
  13. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    That's the thing new bikes don't really need it. Everything seems to work. Could you imagine anyone marketing a kawasaki 500 triple these days?
    Years back friends with the usual midlife crisis hankering back to a misspent youth all went off to lift the modern version of z1s and 750ks. The fireblade was all over the place for a fortnight, they were swiftly traded in for BMs and Harleys. Far too quick and went exactly where they were pointed.
  14. Some people like the Cafe Racer style but would prefer to use a more modern bike as the basis for their custom creation. I accept that the fundamental ethos is different. Old style cafe racers were hybrids created to get around the fact that no one make had the best of everything, hence Tritons etc were put together to combine a good engine with a good frame. More modern Cafe Racers are not being made for performance necessity but rather for the nostalgic or "retro" look. Of course, in some cases, performance may still be enhanced. For example there is a company out there making Harley engined cafe racers using featherbed style frames that are a significant weight reduction over a standard Sportster (and probably better handling although I havn't had a chance to try one) as well as looking very nice indeed. Of course there are also modern factory cafe racers - the Triumph Bonneville Thruxton is the best example.