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Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
You would think that building a 45 year old motorcycle into a cafe racer is a difficult task. I'll tell you what's more difficult, cleaning out my garage and making it into a viable work space. My house was a fixer upper in 2008 when I bought it. I worked in construction for quite a few years. I've accumulated a shitload of stuff. I save lumber and trim that I think will be usable. Case in point: I built an additional work bench and shelves and had everything I needed right in the garage. I can't tell you how many times I've bought the exact same thing because I couldn't find something that was buried. I'm not a hoarder but sometimes I feel like I'm not far off. My house looked like Green Acres when I bought it. I was single and looking for something to do. I was living in a luxury apartment with a view to die for, but was bored out of my mind. 14 years later, I have a quaint New England cottage that is completely done on the inside and is very nice. Out side is about 3/4 done. I have re-sided 2/3 of the house and am down to the last section.

In addition to cleaning and refitting the garage, I have to rebuild the overhead door opening and re-side the garage. I will begin that next weekend and it should take me 2 weekends. I actually worked so hard on the garage this weekend that I didn't even ride. Truth be told, on an MT10, it now costs $20 to fill it up and I get 110 miles out of a tank of gas. Typically I fill up about 5 - 6 times a week because I ride almost every day. Right now that's pretty expensive so dialing it back is not the worst thing. Getting the cafe racer project is coming at a good time and it helps me feed my motorcycle addiction.......not to mention it is accelerating my home remodeling......and straightening things up so nobody mistakes me for a hoarder.
 

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Can you send me some pictures? I'd be very grateful as I'm working on my game plan and starting buy a few things. Nothing better than leaning on somebody else's experience.Thanks
You must be kidding. I don't even have pictures of my daughter's first communion. Honestly when I did all that work (1988) I was using a Nikon F 35 mm camera with Tri-X b&w film and didn't give a $hit about documenting my efforts. And now with the ease of a smart phone I rarely take pictures. And that's from a guy that made a living for 40 years in still photography, film and videography.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
You must be kidding. I don't even have pictures of my daughter's first communion. Honestly when I did all that work (1988) I was using a Nikon F 35 mm camera with Tri-X b&w film and didn't give a $hit about documenting my efforts. And now with the ease of a smart phone I rarely take pictures. And that's from a guy that made a living for 40 years in still photography, film and videography.
taking a shot that you had some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
It's a new world out there. This M-Unit does everything.
Apparently this isn't even that new. Still, the more I've researched, the more impressive it is. Besides the unit itself, they have a ton of products that go with it. Since I am not doing a restoration, I probably will be replacing almost all of the electrical system and componants such as lighting, gauges etc. The only limitation is how much disposable income I have.

This is just one of many.

BTW: my new carburetors are built and should be here within the next week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
M-Unit sounds like something from Austin Powers 😆. One of these days I will start my own build either with a CX500 or an GL1100.
I think there is so much new but sound technology that people are adapting and re-imagining and combining in ways that seem almost incredible. I'm looking at this build differently every day. I think with the new carburetors and electronics that I can have a 45 year old motorcycle that rivals the reliability of a modern one. It's turning out to be a lot of fun.

A couple of other observations that I've made, it's becoming a lot easier to build an old bike. I've also realized that CB550 is a sought after motorcycle to do cafe racer projects and if I'm replacing old parts with new, I can recoup some money selling old parts on Ebay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
This CB550 cost me $300 a week ago. Yesterday my first purchase towards it arrive....Aircrat stripper for $28. Today a beautiful set of mikuni carbs custom built for this bike arrived and they are gorgeous. $700... twice as much as the bike. I'm off to the racers.
Automotive tire Bicycle part Cylinder Gas Engineering

Camera accessory Audio equipment Scientific instrument Gas Cameras & optics
 

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It's a good thing you started with a pile of parts. That will make it easier to weld in some frame gussets to handle all that extra power, Seriously, your enthusiasm for this project is enviable. I'm missing my SOHC...somewhat.

I await reports of your progress. Best wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
what is so special about these carbs that make them so expensive? I still own carborated bikes but never thought they are expensive components.
Custom designed and built manifolds and every single component needed to make them plug and play. In fact there is a disclaimer advising not to make any adjustments or changes as they are build for specifically for a 77 CB 550. Even pretested. More horsepower and torque.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 · (Edited)
It's a good thing you started with a pile of parts. That will make it easier to weld in some frame gussets to handle all that extra power, Seriously, your enthusiasm for this project is enviable. I'm missing my SOHC...somewhat.

I await reports of your progress. Best wishes.
Thank You

Finding a complete garage kept motorcycle in amazing condition at a true good to be true price made me enthusiastic. Generally seeing similar bikes priced for thousands, missing half the parts and rusted out has always made me pass when I've seen them. People have gone insane about asking prices and calculations of the value of used (all) stuff. Add the words vintage or antique to it and it doubles or triples the crazy ass prices.

Additionally I keep posting because I like riding, working on, thinking about and talking about motorcycles....all the time. I drive my GF crazy. Virtually every person I know near me that is into motorcycles are Harley people and I have nothing in common with them....in fact I barely consider Harleys to be motorcycles. An event like ECR is almost heaven because I get a chance to hang out and converse with people that are in to the same motorcycle stuff as I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I've been working on formulating a plan and know pretty much what I'm going to do. Got a composition book to make notes and keep information for much later in the process when I will have forgotten as time passes. There are a lot of forums, how to's and videos which help to sidestep issues that others have valuable experience with. The first and most difficult step is cleaning out my garage and making a work space. Cleaning is really not the right description of what I'm doing........it's closer to an archeological dig. What does one do with a stock 2019 MT10 exhaust? That kind of stuff gets me really conflicted. Do I save half full bottles of fork oil? What about half of a box of gutter hangers....you never know when you'll have to go out and install new gutters. Used lawn mower blades.....should those be thrown away? Building a 45 year old motorcycle from boxes of parts is way easier than cleaning and organizing an entire garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Funny you mention that. I was just reading an article the other evening by Kevin Cameron in Cycle World about centrifugal forces on bikes. The weight of wheels and tires were one of his big points.

His articles are always good. There's always more that we can learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I've been watching a ton of restoration videos, mostly to pickup some refinish / restoration tips and tricks when I came across this absolutely astounding video of these 2 guys restoring a Kawasaki they found in the weeds. I don't think they used any new parts except for the chain, new vinyl seat cover which they made from scratch and some stickers. They repainted everything including the fork tubes. They put all of the bolts in a big metal dish and cooked them for a few seconds. I not sure why and would love if somebody could explain why. The bondo of the gas tank and body work was educational. They started it and rode it although I wonder how well it actually ran and how long a rebuild like this would stay running. You have to admire their mechanical skills and ingenuity. I really loved the golden forks the best. You also gotta hand it to the Japanese motorcycle industry. I doubt their is any other motorcycle manufactured in any other country that could have been brought back to life like this.

 
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