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First bike advice - cafe racer style

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by lepM, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Hi All,

    I've just got my learners and looking for some advice on cafe style racer first bikes. I'm looking at either the Suzuki TU 250, Yamaha SR400 range or Kawasaki W400. Any advice on better first bikes?

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  2. Welcome. Although you may be wanting a specific style, I'd suggest going and test riding a whole lot of others as well. Maybe not those you hate the look of and would never like, but try a broad range to give you a feel for them, the different handing and riding position, etc.

    If you stick to cafe style, you're likely looking at an older bike and the potential issues that come with it, and old 'cafe' style ones are also bloody expensive because they're 'in' at present. A new cafe style is generally not cheap either.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Kawasaki W650 if it's LAMS
    Triumph Street Twin if you can afford it
  4. OK, I admit that sacrificing comfort for style is a fairly common attitude.

    But, if you are just learning to ride it makes things easier for you if you go for the comfort, and worry about the style later.

    As I understand the cafe racer business, one of the common things is fitting wee shortie bars, as low as possible.

    This may give a good look (although I'm not convinced) but it makes learning to ride the beast that much harder.

    As a learner you neither want nor need to have yourself crouched down onto the bike.

    Life is so much easier when you can keep your head up, comfortably, and look where you want to go.

    As I remember a Suzie TU250, as standard, is a perfectly reasonable bike, but one that has been f**ked over to make it cafe racer style could be a complete can of worms, and the last thing a learner needs.

    Quite a few (maybe all) the SR400's I have seen in Oz have been stuffed about to make them almost unrideable. <shrug>

    A straight, unmodified Kwaka W650 would be a nice choice, but don't get one that has been modded too much.
  5. Just remember that technically as soon as u modify a lams bike it voids its lams status if u were thinking of buying a modified bike.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. gday lepMlepM and welcome to NR - depending on what mods you want to make it may be better to just go out and sit on or ride as many as you can before you narrow the list too much as you may be pleasantly surprised by something that you hadn't considered.
  7. welcome aboard :)

    As for what bike is best test ride them all, grab the one you like the best
  8. Skyteam Ace. A bit small and slow, but there's a bloke in Queanbeyan (I think) who does a legal 250 (maybe 230) conversion. Or you could just keep it as a 125 and "enjoy" the 1980s British learner experience :D. Looks smart though, and it's bloody cheap compared to your other options.
  9. One of those Royal Enfield Continental things would be alright as far as looks go, not very good value though.
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  10. XSR700. MT-07 innards with cafe racer style, err, styling. It's LAMS and should be plenty to last you a while.

    But I suggest you go sit on some bikes first as you will find the seating position, peg placement and how flat footed you can get will make a difference.
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. If you want new or nearly new cafe racer style 250cc you could test ride a Braaap ST250 Shadow. I've never ridden one but I've looked at a few in their showrooms and they look alright. Not sure they're totally good value or how they fare long term.

    They had a pre-production 400cc version when I went in last. Would still be learner legal so could be worth waiting for that.
  12. I would stay away from Braaap right now, not sure of their business future:

    Braaap on the fritz?

    N/A | National - Hope you didn't buy a Braaap

    There are many who would recommend staying away from a Braaap, period.
  13. Although not strictly a 'cafe racer' I'd consider a Honda CB250 (I'm biased, I learnt on one). I was sort of in the same mind as you - I love the cafe racer look but didn't want to take any risks with my first bike.

    I reckon they look cool enough with the twin pipes, plus riding position is pretty friendly and you'll have nothing to worry about in terms of mods, reliability or high purchase price.
  14. Probably excellent value if you desire an unreliable pos that turns itself into a rusty yard ornament.
  15. I like the look of them Braaaps. I'm not sure if I'd drop $4.5k on one though, and, like all bikes from less sophisticated markets, I think it would be best approached as something of a project rather than as a fully finished product. That's not necessarily a bad thing; just something to be borne in mind.

  16. I looked at one of those Continental GT cafe racers. Look awesome from a distance (while sipping your post ride latte I assume) especially in red, but a bit shoddy under closer inspection and the finishing was a rough. Can't start em with the kickstand down either!
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  17. Lol. Yeh you can. Red piggyback connector behind motor, pull that sucker apart and tuck it away.first thing I did before riding out of showroom. I couldn't see myself using the centre stand every time I want to warm the bike up without sitting on it.
  18. I think I am on the same boat ... this weekend finally going for Lerner test. Hope i will pass.
    Then I will try all those bikes. Also looking for cafe race style bikes ... without breaking the bank. I like triumph 120 black ... but thats not lams approved.
    So I have these bikes in my list to try test and think
    1. Yamaha virago
    2. Suzuki txu 250
    3. Honda cb400
    4. Yamaha sr400
    5. Yamaha vstar 650
    6. Kawasaki valcone s
    7. Harley Davidson street 500 (don't want to buy an indian made bike thats why it is last in the list though i really loved the style of this bike)
    8. Royal enfield (also indian made ... )

    I know the range is long and weird... cause I have no clue at the moment.