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Restoration project cafe racer advice??

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by hyo_duc, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Hey guys
    me and a mate are new to the whole restoration scene. We are keen to rebuild a old motorbike but are unsure on how echnical it could get. We do have the basic pat down such as my mate has rebuilt dirt bikes and such... not to mention we also have aid from experienced car re-builders, and my grandfather who has ridden bikes for ovr ten years. Not to mention working on them

    We have a keen eye on a cb750 form 78
    i am asking basically if this would be a hard project, in terms of electronic components. Would wiring looms be difficult and such?
    Would the 78 cb 750 be sourcesful of spare parts on the internet and in wreckers? because the last thing we want is to purchase a bike where we cannot find parts.

    I have followed steve's cafe build on a CX500 and found it quite amazing. well done steve btw


    Me and my mate are keen to try and do a fantastic job but want certainty in some area's.

    keen to hear back from the experienced guys on here
  2. Gotta say, if I was going to rebuild a 70s bike, it would, most definitely not be a Honda. A GS Suzuki would be a much better bet, being vastly superior in design, materials and, when finished, performance.

    However, each to their own. The main thing that kills 70s Jappers is cylinder head wear. The cams run direct in the alloy of the head. If the bearings wear out, the head is, effectively, scrap. It is possible to fix, but is likely to be ball-shrinkingly expensive. This is why, if you cut your biking teeth on ageing 70s Jap tackle, 2000 km oil change intervals are a habit that's hard to break.

    No normal 70s bike is particularly hard to rewire and, whatever their manufacturers may have claimed, most didn't contain much in the way of electronic wizardry that cannot now be duplicated by a reasonably determined amateur.

    As for parts availability, there used to be an awful lot of Honda 4s around, but that was a lot of years ago. I doubt if any thirty year old bike will be super easy to get parts for. Honda always claimed 100% spares availability, even for obsolete models but tended to charge the earth for pretty much anything. If you're building a custom, though, getting absolutely correct bodywork and ancillaries isn't as critical as it might be. I'm assuming that a 78 will be the twin-cam engine (as opposed to the earlier single cam variety), which continued in production well into the 80s in the CBX750 so there might be some interchangeability with slightly more recent machinery.
  3. I've found the opposite to PatB, no problem getting parts for the CX which really is Hondas bastard child, a CB750 would be even easier.

    David Silver spares in the UK has heaps of parts along with Wemoto (in the UK), ebay has plenty and then there are plenty of enthusiasts that know what can be swapped with what. As an example I got a pair of new coils with leads for $16, they are for a dirt bike and easy and cheap on ebay and work great on the CX.

    I can even get things like a stator for the CX, there are people who sell replacement CDI units, one made locally. Really there is nothing that cant be found, I got a clutch cable from Honda for $32, I could have got it from other suppliers but for this I just phoned and picked up.

    Wiring is as simple as anything, when you pull the loom out there is bugger all to a 70's bike.

    I don't have the head problem mentioned as the CX is a pushrod engine (and currently holds the Bonneville speed record for a 500cc and under pushrod bike) so I cant comment on that.

    Anyway, after all that have a look at the two links below and see if it covers what you think you may need.

    http://www.davidsilverspares.co.uk/ and


    As an aside I've owned a few bikes including a GSXR750 with full superbike kit and a big old Katana and the CX gets the most interest and is easy and fun to ride, the Cafe style makes for a nice simple bike and any cafe bike will be fun to build and ride. You just might need to get two.

  4. there's a guy in Yarram,South Gippsland who does up Honda CB's from the 70's, he has a shop (can't remember what its called)

    good bloke, loves his older honda's. look him up would be my suggestion, he'll be able to tell you everything.
  5. I had my wiring loom cleaned up by a guy who was very very good. Tidied everything, simplified things, cut and shortened stuff. But I hate electrics and all those old bikes would be simple to work on if you've got a good area and the right diagnostic stuff.

    I'd go less cylinders than a 750. CX500 is a good choice, old sportsters are also getting cheap.

    I've got a SR500 (Previously 400) and I couldn't be happier with the choice I made as a starting point.

    For fabrication stuff there's a great bloke in Brunswick, Craig, who does great welding, seat cutting forming etc. Well worth getting in touch with.
  6. A four cylinder means four times the expense. Four carbs to rebuild or replace, four cylinders to hone, etc etc. 30 year old bikes will need parts replaced, and have plenty of gremlins which will take turns in showing up, keeping you endlessly amused. I highly recommend getting the most simple design you can for the sake of your pleasure, sanity and wallet. A single would be best, especially if you don't plan to do a lot of highway work. Or a twin - late 70s early 80s Yamaha and Suzuki middle-weight twins (XS, GS) are common and cheap, and much better on the highway.

    I owned a Suzuki GR650 until recently, and I'd highly recommend it as well - the poor-man's Bonneville. Don't pay too much attention to the cruiser styling if that's not what you want - such things can be changed without major work. (That is, originally handsome and relaxed bikes such as the GR can easily be given the now-passe cafe racer hack-job too!)
  7. hmm thanx a lot guys, much appreciated
    we may restore an old dirt bike first so i can get my head around everything before we tackle a bigger project as we intended. But we will keep on the look out for such bikes u guys have reccommended. We love the cafe' style racers and are def keen to do one soon.
    does anyone know any on sale atm for a good price?
    im sure you guys would snap it up before us though
    cheers again for all the feedback
  8. Well, if you're considering lighter weight dirt bikes, look at a road bike - the early 80s Yamaha SR250, or even XT250.

    Or an XT500 - can be quite cheap ($1500) or stupidly expensive. Bigger pain in the arse to live with than the 250 though.