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My Cafe Racer Build
Lens: Sigma 70-300 APO Camera: Kx Photo Location: My Shop 
Posted By: Colorado CJ, 04-01-2011, 05:32 PM

I haven't been doing much photography lately since all my free time has been put into another project, BUILDING A CAFE RACER!

For the past few weeks I've been rebuilding my first motorcycle, an '80 Suzuki GS 550L into a stripped down grandfather of a sports bike. I've been taking pictures of the build all along and thought I'd post a couple here since it is "photography"








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04-01-2011, 05:42 PM   #2
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Here's how it started out

04-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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CJ, that is quite a project, looks like you are going through the carbs also, how much more has to be done, I would imagine some shock/suspension work or is that necessary? what is the final goal. Just curious a bit. thanks Bob
04-01-2011, 07:40 PM   #4
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I'll be cleaning/painting the carbs. They'll also have to be rejetted since I will not be using the airbox any longer (I'm going to K&N Pods for more power).

Lots left to do yet. I'll be welding up my own exhaust, rewiring all the electrics with only what is needed to make it run (all the electrics will be hidden under the tank). Fabricating a new tail light/license plate mount and buying shorter cables and new controls.

After everything is fitted the way I want it, I'll tear everything down to sandblast and paint everything.

As for the suspension, I'll probably keep it as is right now, only upgrade the springs in the forks. After a while I may graft on a gsxr front end if I can find one cheap enough.

The idea behind Cafe Racers was started in the UK in the late 60's early 70's. This was back before there were any sport bikes. Basically the idea is to take a cheap, plentiful standard bike, hack off all the bits that aren't necessary to save weight (shaved about 100 lbs off of mine), and get the most power out of the motor as possible. Upgrade brakes, suspension, anything to get it to go faster, stop better and handle.

Cafe Racers were the grand daddys of the sport bike. Many components and design ideas of the cafe racer were incorporated in sport bikes that started making the scene in the early '80s

Here's a nicely done cafe to give you an idea what I'm shooting for (his also started out life as a gs550):




Last edited by Colorado CJ; 04-01-2011 at 07:49 PM.
04-01-2011, 07:59 PM   #5
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Hey thanks for taking the extra time to explain. Now I know what you are doing, how cool you still have your first bike, I'm sure it makes the transformation even more meaningful to you. When you finish, buy yourself some good leathers. Bob
04-01-2011, 08:15 PM   #6
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wow. very neat! thx for documenting the process and sharing. looking forward to see how it progresses - even now it looks like a neat rat cafe racer!
04-01-2011, 08:25 PM   #7
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Thanks! I probably won't post many in process pics here, probably a couple shots once it's complete. (I'm not sure too many would enjoy a build thread here in a photo forum).

I have a build thread running over at ADVRider though. It has a lot more progress pictures in it: Turning my '80 GS 550L into a Cafe Racer - ADVrider
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