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First build - Which would you go for?

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  • First build - Which would you go for?

    Hi Guys,

    Currently on the lookout for my first project bike. A bit of background. I've been out of bikes for a long time. My previous bike was an '03 CBR600F. I have zero mechanical experience other than fitting mini-indicators to the CBR so looking for something not too complex mechanically but I do want to learn beyond just the basics. I'm not looking to strip and rebuild an engine but want to be able to remove from the frame, clean carbs etc. My aim is to build a cafe racer. I like the look of the CB's but there doesn't seem to be many about that are in my price range. I'll probs only have £1k, maybe a little more for the initial purchase of the bike itself. For that hopefully I can find a runner or a bike that wouldn't take too much work to get running. Cosmetically I'm not too concerned about as I want something to strip down clean up and paint. I currently have my eye on the following:-

    1976 CB200 - seems cheap. Seller says the bike was a runner when it was put into storage. Turns over with compression, engine not seized but has stood unused since 2002
    1976 Z400 - £800. US import Nova but unregistered. Supposed under 23k miles. No ignition switch but advised turns over on kickstarter and fired using carb cleaner
    1979 CB750K again US import. Engine described as firing on carb cleaner. Think this one will go over my price range anyway

    I'm keeping my eye out for others similar. Any other bikes you would recommend as a starter. Not really interested in CG125's which I know many start on. I want something which will hold my interest

    Any other tips much appreciated


  • #2
    Hi Chum, reading what you say i would get something that is already running well if you don't want to open up engine's just yet then you can mess about with styling and bits. but if you get the engine out most bike places will go over the engine for you and get it ready for a couple of 100.
    I would recommend Honda's simply because in norfolk have all of Honda's genuine old stock parts for all the 70's & 80's bikes so check them out and you know you can get the bits you may need. They also have bikes for sale and any info you need or help just give em a call.
    A lot of the U.S imports will need the engines opening up or at least valve clearances etc so maybe leave them in my opinion if you are not ready for that yet. A nice 2 cylinder Cb250 wouldnt be to hard and you can get them for around 800 running thats what i reacon and you can make them look really cool and its not all about the speed anymore... good luck chum and have fun.


    • #3
      Thanks for that wisp. I had a look at David Silver site. A couple of possibilities in his bike stock CM400's? Was also browsing elsewhere and noticed a 1982 XV700 (thought they were still XV750's then) the monoshock model which I think look great as cafe racers.

      Thanks again


      • #4
        Imports can be a pain you cant ride them to an MOT station or back and you need an MOT to register them , unless you have a van or a friend with a van consider cost of MOT includes transport, if you fail an MOT double the cost to get it back to MOT station. I have bought two imports one came with an MOT the other I'm working on now, advantage of a US import if it comes from a dry state little to no rust, but I would not want to pay much less for it than a bike that already has a V5.


        • #5
          +1 on a small CB.


          • #6
            Thanks. I have access to a work van for transport if need be so that's not too much of a concern. The hassle of registering maybe a little more so but if the price and condition outweighed that I wouldn't be too put off by an import


            • #7
              Re registering import DVLA very helpfull, re NOVA (custom and revenue) they are helpfull too, I asked for a change on the NOVA re my current bike re mistake in year and they did it no hassel.

              If you have a van your sorted and an older import from a dry state could be a good find. I like the Z400 the Kawazaki Zs where bullet proof being a twin would be much simpler, but the CB750 would be an awesome bike I dont have great mechanical skills personally I would not touch a bike with four cyclinders.

              I think you have to choose what you want, think like this if its the last bike you where to ever own how would you want it to look and what would you want it to be based on.
              Last edited by nortonj; 17th-03-2018, 08:10 AM.


              • #8
                Re getting to a pre booked MOT on vin insurance with no license plate, just contacted Footman James re my bike and they tell me that I can ride to an MOT but check your insurance first. Correction to my earlier statement you dont need a van which can save money this makes me pro imports from dry state/country.