This build comes to us from Geoffrey Rbs of France. Below is his story of the build in his own words.
Since childhood, I always liked to change bikes. I then wanted to change an old motorcycle that had no soul to make it beautiful and elegant. I bought this BMW R65 LS, ugliest model in order to redo everything for my taste and trying to do everything myself. The biggest challenge was to transform an old motorcycle with recent elements while keeping the old spirit of the bike. So I adapted a BMW R1150 rear and front of GSXR with a copper color. All the elements that had no value were removed. What I like about this bike is that I managed to keep his soul from old motorcycle. The changes were made in the rules of art while keeping a nice bike to ride. It is rock and I love it.
This transformation comes to us from Leonardo Gil Vergara. This is his first Cafe Racer build, and we think it turned out great.
Here’s some information in this own words.
This is a Suzuki AX4 GD110 2010. I changed the exhaust, tires, seat, tank, handlebars, grips, mirrors, controls, directional, stop, filter, battery, and CDI. Leonard lives in Mexico City. Please share your thoughts on his creation.
Craig Jones gets this week’s honor as Bike of the Week. We love the bike and the photos. Below is his story in his own words.
Here is my BMW R80 cafe racer, I bought the bike as a standard R80, after looking at 100s of BMW cafes I wanted to try and come up with something a little different without loosing to much of the BMW looks, and it not to end up a display of bolt on parts.
So I decided to give the bike a bit of a modern twist with a mono shock rear. I used the shock from a Triumph and braced the swing arm to improve its appearance. I also fabricated a side mount license plate to keep the seat unit clear of any clutter. I added some small side panels so the seat flows better into the tank.
For the front end, I didn’t want to just bolt upside down forks on to add to the modern twist. So, I fabricated covers and fork shrouds that blend into the single pod for the speedo. The the headlight brackets I made with a floating appearance bolted discretely inside the fork shrouds. I also made the handlebars all part of the fabrication for a nice smooth finish. I managed to find a set of spoked wheels, but they looked like they had been in a swamp for 20 years. So, I stripped and rebuilt them with powder coated hubs and rims all laced up with stainless spokes. So there she is, all metal work done by myself keeping the bought in bolt on parts to a minimum.
This comes to us from Krystian Bednarek of Poland. This captures the spirit behind building a Cafe Racer. We love the bike and the story and hope you enjoy reading about it. Below is Krystian’s story in his own words. We love that Krystian shared his video of building the bike and riding it. Enjoy!
I wanted to create a raw bike. I wish it contains as little plastic as possible instead of a lot of metal and leather parts. It is my first motorcycle, which I was building by myself, that is why I wanted to do my best during preparation. I have been browsing in the internet thousands of motorcycles for a long time. Each of them gave me some inspirations to choose specified elements to create my dream one.
Thanks to this I was creating the vision of original motorcycle in my head. Although I knew what I really wanted to create, I was not able to draw the project on a paper. Finally I started to work hard. I have bought a basis: Honda cb 750 seven fifty, the production year 1992 in very good condition.
When the previous owner heard, that I am going to dismantle his motorcycle, he told that he did not want to hear it, so we brought on motorcycle on car carrier trailers. After the arrival of motorcycle to my garage I did not know from what I should start with. The hundreds of parts, how can I remember it- I was asking myself. It was the first motrocycle, which I have ever built. Everything was quite new for me.
I decided to disassemble parts one after another and report everything. First of all I wrote the name of part, which I was going to dismantle on the paper then I recored the name of this part, part inside motorcycle and how I disamantle it. Thanks to it I had about 80 movies with exact documentation. I did not have any experience in creating a shape o frame, that is why I left on the frame: engine, wheels, steering wheel.
Therefore it was easier to achieve intended look of the frame. Gradually I have been creating on my own some parts, others I bought. But all in the strict sequence. After assembling one part I pitched to it another without hurry. Nevertheless whole of this project took about 500 hour of hard work. I did not take the easy way out even with smallest details.
Everything had to be just as I designed. Sometimes I was made to do the part once again, but it was worth it. Thanks to these efforts now I have such motorcycle, which was in my head from the beginning. After assembly of motorcycle came a long time awaited moment – the first firing a motorcycle. I must admit, it was very stressful for me, because it was some kind of test after one year of hard work. After little difficulties I managed to fired it, and there was a lot of smoke in the garage.
It was an amazing feeling that is experienced only once, because once in a lifetime you can do the first motorcycle. After this I conducted tests of every part, careful rides due to check if everything work as it should. Of course I started testing from the brakes.
When the tests were successful, came the moment to make the whole project elegantly documented. I took a photo and video sessions to be able to go back always to those nice moments. During the entire construction process I met many interesting people who share similar interests and passions. Such people were the owners of companies who have done for me for free some parts. The first was company ARMJ (http://armj.com.pl) who performed a great seat. The second company wass a PROTON (http://protonfilters.pl) who has done sports air filters. I truly appreciate this collaboration. Besides, I spent a lot of hours with my dad. For sure without him motorcycle would not look like as looks now.
Video of the build.
Video of the ride
Krystian is also quite talented when it comes to building websites. This one is dedicated to his Cafe Racer build.
This Bike of the Week come to us from Phil Bredfeldt. He shares his story with what he calls his Murphy’s Law experience. But, the bike turned out looking great. Anything worth having can have its setbacks, right.
It started with a 1973 Honda CL350. – This is the unedited story from Phil. Enjoy.
I purchased the bike for $400 form a local Honda collector. We guessed that the bike had been sitting for nearly 30 years, but was about 90% complete and an excellent candidate for a restoration. When I got the bike home to the garage, I completely tore it down looking to start fresh. The front end was replaced with a set from a ’89 Honda CR500. The reason behind that choice of fork was they had the same width as the original and allowed me to use the stock wheels with little modification as well as a nearly matching steering stem. They were modified via an 8″ drop to match the stock height, slight modification to the steering stem, and the upper triple was machined for some marine grade engine start and stop switches. The original tank was far too rusted to use, so I found a CB350 survivor in excellent shape on eBay. To allow the maximum amount of front end steering, I moved the tank mounts back 15mm and modified the steering stops on the frame. The frame was de-tabbed and an under seat electronics tray was added. Once all the welding and modifications were completed on the frame, it was sand blasted and powder coated black. I rewired the bike completely, upgrading the bike to electronic ignition, upgraded stator and all new electronic components. Power is supplied by the amazingly small and powerful AntiGravity 4 cell Battery.
I took an optimistic approach to the engine, get it running without any internal work. I succeeded, but she only lasted a couple hours, which was a couple hours longer than I thought it would. I was able to ride the bike around my neighborhood before losing a piston ring. There was a strong sense of respect for these small twins. After sitting for some 30 years, it fired up and ran fairly decent. This obviously led to an, already planned, complete engine rebuild. I had the engine bored 1mm over getting it closer to a true 350 and after reassembly, I bolted on the set of Mikuni VM30 carburetors from Dime City.
Originally, I decided to take a unique approach with the front brake using the original drum set up and modifying it for use with the USD forks. This did not last long as I had far too many butt pucker moments with the lack of braking power and decided to upgrade to disc brake in the front. This required a wheel from a CB350 and modification of the front rotor. I used the stock CR500 brake caliper to provide the stopping power.
Coming from a classic & muscle car background, I like to consider this build a garage built, restomod cafe. Something most gearheads can accomplish in their own garage. I run a machine shop for a living and have access to an assortment of fabricating goodies, therefore I am able to take things a step further. Hand fabricating the seat/tail, as well as the exhaust and machining custom mounting brackets, are some of the ways I like to add a little bit more to each build.
’73 Honda Cl350, 1mm over bore
Mikuni VM30 Carburetors
Rick’s Motorsports Stator
Pamco Electronic Ignition
Hand Made 2-1 Single Chamber Exhaust with Carbon Fiber Heat Shield
’89 Honda CR500 Front Suspension (Modified)
YSS Suspension Rear Shocks
Woodcraft, Clip-ons and Modified Woodcraft Rear Sets from a Ducati 999
’73 Honda CB350 Fuel Tank
Hand Made Cafe Seat and Tail
Avon Roadrider Tires – Front: 90/90-18 Rear:120/80-18
Brian Smith from the UK with his gorgeous 1960 Slimline Triton
Hi there Cafe Racer TV Team! My love of Cafe Racers started back in 1966 with my 16th birthday and a brand new Royal Enfield Continental GT. Having always wanting a Triton and living on £18 in my youth I knew it wasn’t in the cards. I kept my heart in it, caff’s that is, and went on to own, build and bend many a bikes.
I retired in 2006 and after scouting eBay bought a 1960 Norton Slimline frame which the previous owner so graciously decided to bend the forks on! A mate of mine was sellingf an engine from a Trident 750 but it was no runner. Three new Corillo rods, three new pistons and a lot of cursing later- she was ready to go!
I grafted in forks from a Suzuki GS500, which I’ll add, is no mean feet with an Imperial frame and metric fork stem! In addition to the troublesome front end I have to fabricate all new engine mounting plates, oil tank mounts, chain guard, etc… In the end, I’d like to think she came together quite well and goes very well just the same.
Brian Smith AKA: SMUDGER
Ron Gee’s stunning Harley Davidson Sportster Cafe
Café Racer TV Team,
I have been into Cafe bikes for about 10 years. Sport bikes are fun and all…but old cafe bikes have soul. I am constantly looking for a project to “cafe out”. I have had 3 Norton Cafes, a Triumph Thruxton, and Honda CB550 café. For my next project I want to do a Benelli SEI! Such style!
I ride with a bunch of guys with Harleys and catch a lot of grief for my choice of rides, so I set out to Cafe a Harley to put the ridicule to bed! I saw Benjie Cafe Racers Sportster tank and seat and went with it. Finding a donor Sportster was a challenge. ’70’s Sporty’s are either restored and to nice to modify or completely clapped out, but I got lucky and found a strong running/cosmetically challenged 1976 Sporty in Milwaukee.
Once I got it home I proceeded to rip everything off of it- piece by piece it came apart and the transformation began! I powdercoated the rims and re-laced them and went the distance and added clip-ons. Wanting to use the stock Harley controls, I had to turn 1″ bar stock aluminum down to 7/8″ to fit in the clip on fork clamps.
Tons of credit goes to my Brother-in-law, Dave Carnock for the paint and creative fabrication on various parts. The nice thing about working on a Harley is….there are tons of aftermarket sources for trick parts that can be modified. I am not a chrome fan, but the chrome oil tank worked for me…the pipes are J&P cycle stock….again, I don’t like chrome, but am not a fan of wrapped pipes either so I needed to come up with a plan for them. New controls and clocks also from J&P and new front brake caliper from a custom shop since the old ones are junk.
In the end, I think I ended up with a pretty cool café racer with a big v-twin lump as the heart and soul. When she rolled off the line in 76’ she probably had no idea she’d be stripped of all the heavy weight garbage she was born with and turned into a thoroughbred race horse. I’m confident she doesn’t mind! Thanks for the spot guys!
– Ron Gee
Ralph Millers “Every-man’s Budget” Honda CB650 Cafe
Whats up folks?
Really stoked to be able to show off my cafe racer build in such a great forum and enjoy seeing the show each week. I have been around Harley’s my entire life and came to love riding a variety of models but fell in love with the performance of Buells. After customizing my Buell Cyclone I got hooked on performance bikes and definitely enjoyed the speed factor as well the nimble handling. With loving that style of bike I found my way towards cafe bikes and always thought about checking out the Honda 750’s for a killer city bike as I could find them a bit more on the cheap.
When I bought this 1979 Honda cb650 for about $350 on craigslist I had no intention of building a cafe bike at all. It was originally intended to be a trade off for a buddy of mine who was going to do some work for me, as he wanted a cheap bike to run around town with. Low and behold he didn’t help on the project and now I was stuck with a broken down bike. The bike wasn’t running and was bought as is, which turned out to be quite the issue down the road, as I found out it was wrecked. The left side of the frame was tweaked and the pipes were bent out of whack a bit. The major issue was of course the carburetors and once I saw how bad off they were I knew that to even get the bike running it was going to require major surgery. Knowing all these factors and just staring at it for hours on end, I hatched a plan to make a custom cafe styled bike that would be built on a tight budget and to make as many new parts as I could by hand.
I revamped the frame to allow for the gas tank to sit a bit more flat, created a new style of rear section out of sheet metal, made a new seat pan that locks the tank into place, found a perfect style of fairing taken from a Harley V-Rod and fabbed up numerous parts on the bike to make it distinctive and unique. Most of all though, I wanted to create a cool Cafe Bike that would be built on a shoestring budget and one that I could ride the piss out of. I accomplished both and I dig blasting this bike all around town as its fun as hell and can’t wait for the next build.
– Ralph Miller / Rusty Knuckles – http://rustyknuckles.blogspot.com/
*Be sure to checkout the exclusive Cafe Racer Tee’s that Ralph designed for Cafe Racer TV! They’re like none-other! Check them out by CLICKING HERE.