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Old 01-09-2010, 09:44 AM   #1
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What's the best airhead for a cafe project?

Is there an ideal airhead for cafe racer projects? I am drawn to the R90/6 models based on engine size and looks.

Curious if there are logical pros/cons regarding the best models to cafe out.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:53 AM   #2
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Oh....man....


You could spend alot of time looking at every cafe'd boxer on the interwebs, and find reasons for doing it like "they" did every time....

cafe'd /5's? check.



cafe'd slash 6 and 7? check.



cafe'd 80ST's? check.



cafe'd R65's? check.



cafe'd 80g/s's? check.....


R80 monolever? yes, even that....check out fellow ADV'r MIOB's beauty:





and so on.





90/6? ... great choice! go for it!
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
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They are really all great and all have their pluses I think.

/5. Has the speedo /tach in the backet which creates a great clean look on the bars. Kick start, what is more retro than that. No master cylinder to mess with.

/6. Nice. Love the 750 and the 900. Dont like the speedo cluster—would do a Vapor or Trailtech. Big tank doesnt scream cafe to me. More like retro.

/7. I like the tanks the best for cafe. Same issue with speedo.

It really depends on a couple of factors that YOU have to answer. What brakes do you want on the front and rear without going crazy modifying a bike. Kick start wanted. You can always put a 4 speed in a /7 but rarely done. What do you desiring for speedo/tach. Tank. Wheels, do you want spokes, mags or snowflakes. Carbs a big deal to you 32 or 40s.

I am starting a cafe project right now. Starting with a 80/7. First because it was soooo cheap. Low miles. Has Lester mags that I wanted. Planning on doing some radical stuff. Trying to decide whether a Vapor or TrailTech would be best or a /5 bucket and do a new combo speedo in its hole. Or even just a GPS that I remove all of the time.

So I guess my point is that there are some many little factors that depend on personal preference that only you can really answer the question. Just my 3 cents I am sure you get many more opinion and thoughts.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaddleSoar
They are really all great and all have their pluses I think.

/5. Has the speedo /tach in the backet which creates a great clean look on the bars. Kick start, what is more retro than that. No master cylinder to mess with.

/6. Nice. Love the 750 and the 900. Dont like the speedo cluster—would do a Vapor or Trailtech. Big tank doesnt scream cafe to me. More like retro.

/7. I like the tanks the best for cafe. Same issue with speedo.

It really depends on a couple of factors that YOU have to answer. What brakes do you want on the front and rear without going crazy modifying a bike. Kick start wanted. You can always put a 4 speed in a /7 but rarely done. What do you desiring for speedo/tach. Tank. Wheels, do you want spokes, mags or snowflakes. Carbs a big deal to you 32 or 40s.

I am starting a cafe project right now. Starting with a 80/7. First because it was soooo cheap. Low miles. Has Lester mags that I wanted. Planning on doing some radical stuff. Trying to decide whether a Vapor or TrailTech would be best or a /5 bucket and do a new combo speedo in its hole. Or even just a GPS that I remove all of the time.

So I guess my point is that there are some many little factors that depend on personal preference that only you can really answer the question. Just my 3 cents I am sure you get many more opinion and thoughts.

Great points - the kick start and clean look of the front on the /5s is intriguing. I think i read your thread on your project - blue one, correct? Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sox Fan
Great points - the kick start and clean look of the front on the /5s is intriguing. I think i read your thread on your project - blue one, correct? Good luck!
Put a /5 bucket on your /6, as jtwind did on his R65:





Or do something really custom:
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:03 PM   #6
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Best Cafe???

Is all of them.
Any engine that floats your boat. R65 swingarm, Brembo F/E. Speedo's don't belong, after all you are building a barely road legal racebike if you are doing it right.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:32 AM   #7
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I agree. Any of them, whatever you like.

The blue mono in Pbeckm's post is mine. I chose for the mono because I wanted a less=more bike. It has one rear shock less ;). I also fitted it with a kickstarter by the way.

There's a dedicated BMW caferacerthread on this forum. Just go through the pages and see what you like.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:39 AM   #8
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Do it properly - get an old Brit Iron...
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Put a /5 bucket on your /6:
Bob,that's a r65, not a /6. I built that and then Craig Chwala of Chicago bought it from me and has done a nice and interesting job finishing it up. Not much like a r65 anymore, I think he put a r90s motor in it.

As far as which airhead to build a cafe out of, I think I would base it on which tank I wanted to put on it. That is if you are going to use a stock BMW tank. The later frames are stiffer and better handling, though you can mod the old ones for good or at least better handling. It all sort of depends on how much you are going to do to it. If you have extensive work in mind it really doesn't matter much.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:22 AM   #10
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The only recommendation I would have is to stay away from the R65 bikes, simply because there is not much interchangeability w/ the other Airheads.

If I was going to pick one it would probably be a /7 or later twin shock. The frame has been beefed up at this point, they are possibly easier to come by at a reasonable price, and, as was already mentioned, I think the stock tanks look very nice.

I took a /5 and made it into a race/cafe bike, but that was just because I had one available at the time that was a prime candidate. Here is a few pics of the end result:





And a few detailed pics:





And what I started with:



Good luck--

kix
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwind
Bob,that's a r65, not a /6. I built that and then Craig Chwala of Chicago bought it from me and has done a nice and interesting job finishing it up. Not much like a r65 anymore, I think he put a r90s motor in it.

snip
Hi jeff: oops.... sorry about that... I KNEW that, I just hadn't thought about it quite yet.... went back and fixed it...! Still one of my favorite rider's-view, with the clean triple and the /5 bucket and the alloy tank.....'s
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpeckm
Hi jeff: oops.... sorry about that... I KNEW that, I just hadn't thought about it quite yet.... went back and fixed it...! Still one of my favorite rider's-view, with the clean triple and the /5 bucket and the alloy tank.....'s
Evan Wilcox made that tank for me, back when you only had to wait 6-7 months. I had the r65 tach in the headlight bucket and used a Sigma bike speedo for mph. The r65 had those nice proper upper triple clamps and Craig went one step further and had the built in handlebar clamps machined off.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kixtand
The only recommendation I would have is to stay away from the R65 bikes, simply because there is not much interchangeability w/ the other Airheads.

If I was going to pick one it would probably be a /7 or later twin shock. The frame has been beefed up at this point, they are possibly easier to come by at a reasonable price, and, as was already mentioned, I think the stock tanks look very nice.

I took a /5 and made it into a race/cafe bike, but that was just because I had one available at the time that was a prime candidate. Here is a few pics of the end result:





And a few detailed pics:





And what I started with:



Good luck--

kix
Wow - very nice ride. I like the color.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigford
Do it properly - get an old Brit Iron...

A Brit bike would be fine, if you really didnt want to ride it very far, and you had plenty of mates with trucks to bring your stranded butt home all of the time....
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigford
Do it properly - get an old Brit Iron...
Gotta admit, there is something just so veddy proper about it, makes it almost worthwhile when you can gaze at something like this whilst you await the aforementioned friends and trucks....



'course another alternative is to take the classic brit vertical twin look, and apply some japanese engineering, and have the best of both worlds:







In the end, what is good is that we can each take our own bike and interpret the application of "cafe" as we see fit....in other words, ymmv


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